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Singer and actress Selena Gomez was honored with the 2019 McLean Award at the hospital’s Annual Dinner held on September 13. Each year, McLean presents the award to individuals who have furthered the public’s understanding of psychiatric illness and mental health. Previous honorees include NFL star Brandon Marshall, ABC news anchor Elizabeth Vargas, and singer Judy Collins.
On accepting the award, Gomez detailed her recent struggles with anxiety and depression. “It felt as though all of my pain, anxiety, and fear washed over me all at once, and it was one of the scariest times of my life,” she said.
Gomez explained how she reached out for help and felt “equal parts terrified and relieved” when she received her diagnosis, “terrified because the veil was lifted but relieved that I finally had the knowledge of why I had suffered with various depressions and anxieties for so many years. I never had full awareness or answers about this condition.”
With a clear diagnosis and a determination to face her challenges, Gomez said that she feels happier and healthier and more in control of her feelings and thoughts. At the dinner, she declared that she wants to use her experience to help others.
“For me, 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. 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. This makes me human. We need help, and we need each other.”
The dinner began with remarks by McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch, MD. Rauch reported on several McLean programs and services and detailed some of the challenges now facing mental health professionals.
“In considering both the challenges and opportunities before us, I could not be more excited about McLean’s future,” Rauch said. “We are surrounded by the most dedicated and talented clinicians, researchers, educators, students and staff, friends and supporters. And I am grateful to each of you for the role you play.”
Previous recipients of the McLean Award: