JoJo is getting frank about living with clinical depression. In a new interview with People, the singer discussed her family’s history with mental illness and addiction and said that she doesn’t feel any fear about revealing her diagnosis.
“Because there is a history of mental health issues in my family, I didn’t feel any shame seeking help,” the singer said.
JoJo said that she was first diagnosed with clinical depression, or major depressive disorder, 10 years ago. The singer admitted that she’s been taking antidepressants and seeing a therapist since she turned 18.
“Those of us who have a predisposition toward depression or a chemical imbalance — sometimes we just need a little help,” she explained.
JoJo is currently promoting her latest album, Good to Know, which is set to be released this Friday. In the interview, she also discussed her history in the spotlight. The singer said that early on in her career, she may have seemed thrilled with her success even as she was privately struggling with dark emotions because of her father’s opioid addiction.
In 2009, after a dispute with her record label over her contract prevented her from releasing music, she turned to alcohol to cope. By the time she’d turned 18, she was drinking to the point of blackouts.
“At the end of the day I am a product of a family with substance-abuse issues,” the singer said.
Two years, later, JoJo said that she realized it was time for a change.
“When I woke up and didn’t know how I got home, I was like, ‘This is not okay,'” she said.
After her clinical depression diagnosis, the singer began to manage her mental health through a combination of therapy, medication, exercise, yoga, and journaling. From that point on, the singer said she tried to focus on the elements of her life that she could control.
She reached an agreement with her label in 2013, but just two years later, her father died of complications related to his addiction. Just a year later, JoJo released her first album in a decade. She vowed at that point that she wouldn’t let herself become the victim of the same illness.
Today, JoJo said that while she doesn’t abstain from drinking, her relationship to it has changed.
“I don’t drink to escape,” the singer explained.
The singer said that, as she continues to manage her mental health, she’s found herself in a happier, healthier place, which influenced much of the music on Good to Know.