A Timeline of Selena Gomez's Mental Health Journey

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credit: @selenagomez/Instagram

Selena Gomez is, without a doubt, an icon. She’s known for her fierce style and catchy music but she’s always made it a point to always keep it real with her fans.

Perhaps the most impactful thing she’s spoken out about is her mental health. The singer first hinted at her struggles with depression and anxiety back in 2016 and has only continued to open up about her ups and downs.

Struggling with mental health can often make you feel alone. Even though it’s 2021, mental health is still stigmatized and it doesn’t help that people who don’t understand mental illness often gaslight those who suffer from anxiety and depression.

But when celebrities like Selena open up about their own struggles with mental health, it reminds everyone that mental illness can happen to anyone. And, most importantly, it reminds us that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.

Below is a timeline of every time Selena opened up about her struggles with mental health.

November 2016: She First Alluded to Mental Health Struggles at the AMAs

After having to end her 2016 tour early due to health issues, Selena made her return to the public eye at the American Music Awards. Her speech alluded to her mental health struggles and inspired fans around the world. She said,

“I think it’s safe to say that most of you know a lot of my life whether I liked it or not. And I had to stop. Because I had everything, and I was absolutely broken inside. And I kept it all together enough to where I would never let you down, but I kept it too much together to where I let myself down.”

She added,

“If you are broken, you do not have to stay broken.”

April 2017: She Opened Up About Seeking Treatment in an Issue of Vogue


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In 2016, she was checked into a rehab facility in Tennessee, where she stayed for three months. She later told Vogue for her April 2017 cover story,

“You have no idea how incredible it felt to just be with six girls. Real people who couldn’t give two shits about who I was, who were fighting for their lives. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it was the best thing I’ve done.”

She added,

“Tours are a really lonely place for me. I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting onstage, or right after leaving the stage. Basically, I felt I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t capable.” 

She also told Vogue that she sees her therapist five times a week and has taken up Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a treatment that focuses on practicing mindfulness and taking control of your emotions.

“DBT has completely changed my life. I wish more people would talk about therapy. We girls, we’re taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who’s down. We also need to feel allowed to fall apart.”

February 2018: She Got Real About Her Depression in an Issue of Harper’s Bazaar


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Shortly after her two-week stint at the Connecticut rehab facility Privé-Swiss in 2018, Selena was interviewed by 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford for Harper’s Bazaar for her February 2018 cover story.  The pair discussed Selena’s career, her journey as a role model, and of course her mental health, where she explained that her depression was something that would never go away.

“I will always start with my health and my well-being. I’ve had a lot of issues with depression and anxiety, and I’ve been very vocal about it, but it’s not something I feel I’ll ever overcome. There won’t be a day when I’m like, ‘Here I am in a pretty dress—I won!'”

She continued,

“I think it’s a battle I’m gonna have to face for the rest of my life, and I’m okay with that because I know that I’m choosing myself over anything else.”

January 2019: She Returned From Treatment a Second Time


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In October 2018, Gomez was hospitalized after issues caused by her kidney transplant, which she had in 2017. According to sources, the hospitalization led to a breakdown. Gomez returned to social media in January 2019 to let her fans know she was okay. She said in her Instagram post,

“It’s been a while since you have heard from me, but I wanted to wish everyone a happy new year and to thank you for your love and support. Last year was definitely a year of self-reflection, challenges, and growth. It’s always those challenges which show you who you are and what you are capable of overcoming. Trust me, it’s not easy, but I am proud of the person I am becoming and look forward to the year ahead. Love you all.”

April 2019: She Spoke About the Importance of Therapy

Selena, who’s been the face of designer brand Coach since 2016, spoke on the brand’s podcast “Dream it Real” in April 2019 and made a point to discuss the importance of therapy in her life.

“I am a believer of therapy. I think that I have had opportunities where I kind of reflect on the younger me and I think that a lot of the times I wish I could hug my younger self. I wish I could have done a lot of things and maybe experienced things a little differently.” And that even though therapy is hard, ‘It’s amazing.’

September 2019: She Received an Award For Mental Health Advocacy


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In September 2019, the Mclean Hospital awarded her with the 2019 McLean Award for Mental Health Advocacy. During her acceptance speech, Gomez explained that she was both scared and relieved when she got her official diagnosis.

“Terrified because that veil was lifted, but relieved that I finally had the knowledge of why I had suffered so many years with various depressions and anxieties for so many years. I never had full awareness or answers about this condition.”

She added,

“This doesn’t make me faulty. This does not make me weak. This does not make me less than. This makes me human. We need help, and we need each other.”

January 2020: She Spoke About the Power of Medication


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In Selena’s first interview of 2020, she spoke with WSJ magazine ahead of her Rare album release. She admitted that some of the album was inspired by her journey with her mental health as well as her struggles with self-esteem. She said,

“I had low self-esteem, and that’s something I work on continuously. But I feel so empowered because I’ve gained so much knowledge about what was going on mentally. My highs were really high, and my lows would take me out for weeks at a time.”

She continued,

“I found out I do suffer from mental health issues. And, honestly, that was such a relief. I realized that there was a way to get help and to find people that you trust. I got on the right medication, and my life has been completely changed.”

If you are currently struggling with mental health issues, work with your doctor to find a treatment plan right for you. That may involve therapy, medication, or perhaps a treatment center (like The Banyans [thebanyans.com.au] in Australia, for example).

If you need more immediate help, please contact the National Suicide Hotline.


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Alysia Stevenson
Alysia Stevenson is a twenty-seven New York City transplant currently living in Florida with her boyfriend and three furbabies. When she's not writing, you can find her watching beauty tutorials on Youtube or Parks and Rec for the millionth time.