SAN DIEGO (CBSMiami) – Pop star Demi Lovato is kicking off her new tour with a focus on mental health.
She invited five survivors of the Florida school shooting on stage Monday night and asked fans to help provide mental health support to the Parkland community.
Lovato has been a mental health advocate since she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010.
She hit a personal note in front of more than 7,000 fans at the debut night of her “Tell Me You Love Me” tour, opening up about her own struggles with depression and addiction.
“I want to share my journey with people and my story so that it can open people’s minds and see that there’s nothing wrong with you just because you have a mental illness,” she told the crowd.
The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter has battled bipolar disorder for eight years.
Mike Bayer was instrumental in her recovery.
“I will forever be in debt to him for coming into my life and providing me with a place that was safe and believing in me,” Lovato said.
Now business partners, they use the concert tours to inspire others suffering from mental illness to seek help.
“A lot of Demi’s music allows for healing, and it’s how do you turn sadness or just a tragic situation into inspiration and empowerment,” Bayer said.
Moved by the images of the Florida school shooting, Lovato personally reached out to some of the students on social media, concerned about their mental health after living through the tragedy.
“Seeing something that disturbing is just painful to watch and… my heart goes out to them,” she said.
She also invited survivors to her concert last night to share their stories.
“On February 14th, one of the worst mass shootings in American history took place. These students were in school that day. Please welcome them to the stage.”
While she continues on her own journey of healing, the pop star says she’s committed to fighting the stigma attached to mental illness one performance at a time.
“It has nothing to do with politics,” Lovato explained. “It’s about healing. It was how can we help these students heal from what they’ve been through? The students that came here today and shared their stories are so incredibly brave and courageous and they really are warriors in my eyes.”