She's previously said that therapy has "saved [her] life many times." Now, Ariana Grande is helping others afford vital mental health care. On Tuesday, the pop star announced she has teamed up with BetterHelp to give away $2 million worth of free therapy (doubling an original donation of $1 million), in an effort to make counseling a little more accessible.
"While acknowledging that therapy should not be for a privileged few but something everyone has access to, and acknowledging that this doesn’t fix that issue in the long run, I really wanted to do this anyway in hopes of inspiring you to dip a toe in, to feel okay asking for help, and to hopefully rid your minds of any sort of self judgement in doing so!" Grande wrote on social media.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults experience mental illness, but less than half of them seek treatment in a given year. While there are lots of reasons someone who is suffering may not ask for help, cost is a major barrier for many folks who'd benefit from therapy. Grande sagely noted that her giveaway wouldn't fix institutional issues. Her ambition is to provide some relief: "I so hope that this will be a helpful starting point and that you’ll be able to build space for this in your lives and continue!" she wrote. "Healing is not linear or easy but you are worth the effort and time, I promise!"
Grande has been radically transparent about her own mental health struggles. Following the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, which targeted the pop star's young fans as they departed her concert, she shared that she suffered from PTSD. "It’s hard to talk about because so many people have suffered such severe, tremendous loss. But, yeah, it’s a real thing," she told British Vogue in 2018.
Since then, she's become a vocal mental health advocate. In May, for Mental Health Awareness Month, she used her social platforms to share resources and encourage fans to ask for help. "Healing isn’t linear, fun, quick or at all easy, but we are here and we’ve got to commit to making this time as healthy, peaceful and beautiful as possible," Grande wrote. "The work is so hard but we are capable and worth it. Sending so much love and strength."