McLean Hospital recently honored the 27-year-old singer with the 2019 McLean Award -- a distinction it gives, according to its website, to "individuals who have furthered the public's understanding of psychiatric illness and mental health" -- and, during her speech at the annual dinner, she spoke of her own emotional journey.
"I think that we are better when we tell the truth and, so, this is my truth. Last year, I was suffering mentally and emotionally, and I wasn’t able to stay all that kept together. I wasn’t able to hold a smile or to keep things looking normal," she said, according to a fan video, referencing being hospitalized and seeking treatment at a mental health facility last October.
"It felt like all of my pain and my anxiety washed over me all at once and it was one of the scariest moments of my life," she added.
After seeking help and getting "a clear diagnosis," Gomez said she felt "equal parts of terrified and relieved."
"Terrified, obviously, because the veil was lifted, but relieved that I finally had the knowledge of why I had suffered for so many years with depression and anxiety," she explained. "I've never had full answers, awareness or anything about this condition, so I began to face it head-on, as my mother taught me to face my fears and challenges when I was younger."
Gomez continued her treatment by meeting with "some of the greatest doctors and psychiatrists," educating herself, and talking to others who were struggling, things which led her to become "very passionate" about mental health.
"Although this does not mean that it has all gone away. I can say that after a year of a lot of intense work, that I am happier, I am healthier, and I am in control of my emotions and thoughts more than I’ve ever been," she said. "So, I’m very happy about that."
According to the hospital's website, during her speech, Gomez also spoke about the fear that came with opening up about her mental health and why she ultimately decided to do it.
"It feels right to share that I have personally felt the effects of both depression and anxiety -- but it isn’t easy. I have feared being misunderstood and judged," she said. "I know that I have been given experiences and people and opportunities that have made my life exceptionally beautiful and sweet -- and yet I struggle with my own thoughts and feelings at times."
"But this doesn’t make me faulty. This does not make me weak. This does not make me less than," she continued. "This makes me human. We need help, and we need each other."
Gomez also posted about receiving the award on Instagram, saying that she was "so humbled" to be a part of the event and "was honored to be able to share a bit of my story."
"These are the moments where I am so grateful for the platform God has given me ❤️," she added.