Selena Gomez Joins First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House for Mental Health Youth Forum

Selena Gomez with Jill Biden at the White House
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MTV Entertainment

Selena Gomez is in the White House! The 29-year-old singer and actor joined First Lady Dr. Jill Biden on Wednesday for MTV Entertainment (MTVE)'s "Mental Health is Health" initiative. 

The event kicked off the first-ever Mental Health Youth Action Forum, led by MTVE and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Gomez and Dr. Biden were joined by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and about 30 other youth mental health advocates. Ambassador Susan E. Rice provided opening remarks before the 45-minute conversation. 

“I heard a phrase recently that I really like: the mentionable becomes manageable,” Gomez told Dr. Biden. 

Selena Gomez at the White House
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MTV Entertainment

The Only Murders in the Building star has been open about her mental health struggles for some time. In 2014, she was diagnosed with lupus and underwent a kidney transplant and chemotherapy for treatment. Later, she gave up her social media accounts for four and half years while also working through a bipolar disorder diagnosis

Last fall, Gomez told Elle that each of these experiences had been exceptionally transformative. 

"My lupus, my kidney transplant, chemotherapy, having a mental illness, going through very public heartbreaks -- these were all things that honestly should have taken me down," she reflected. "Every time I went through something, I was like, 'What else? What else am I going to have to deal with?'"

On Wednesday, she told Dr. Biden that learning how to talk about her struggles was what ultimately saved her. 

Selena Gomez and Jill Biden at the White House
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MTV Entertainment

"I felt like once I found out what was going on mentally I found there was more freedom for me to be ok with what I had because I was learning about it," she said, "and talking about your own journey helps." 

Dr. Biden also pointed to the ways that the pandemic has exacerbated youth mental health and lonliness, a crisis that Dr. Murthy speaks about frequently

"We're recovering every single day, but recovery isn't always the same as healing,” said Dr. Biden. “And sometimes the darkness is inside of us too."  

The group's conversation happened the day before Mental Health Action Day on May 19th, which is a collection of nonprofits, brands, agencies and leaders aimed at “shifting our mental health culture from awareness to action.” Learn more about the initiative and its partners here.

Related Content: 

Steve Martin and Martin Short Gush Over Selena Gomez's 'SNL' Debut

Martin Short and Steve Martin on Selena Gomez’s ‘SNL’ Debut (Exclusive)

Selena Gomez Loves TikTok Because It's 'a Kinder Community' (Exclusive)

Miley Cyrus Responds to Selena Gomez's 'SNL' Impression