Dove Cameron Opens Up About Her Struggles With Mental Health

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Dove Cameron is tired. The 22-year-old star had just wrapped Descendants 3 when she got the call to come to New York City for Clueless: The Musical off-Broadway, which runs until January 12. At that point, Cameron will go back to her regularly scheduled chaos of developing another reboot, starring in an anthology rom-com, and moving to London for the West End production of Light in the Piazza. Even while preparing for her first role playing an adult in Light in the Piazza, Dove still takes time to talk candidly with her fans on social media about her struggles with depression.

Talking to Cosmopolitan about her sometimes macabre posts, Dove explained that her openness and willingness to engage candidly with her fans is inextricably connected to having to grapple with mortality at a young age after her best friend was killed by her father in a murder-suicide when she was eight-years-old. Only seven years later, when Dove was fifteen and about to make her Disney debut on Liv and Maddie, her closeted father took his own life. These two events are heart-breaking, but they created a part of Dove that she doesn’t want to hide from her fans and followers.

“I’d rather look at them, face-on, head-on, with the lights on. And make them less scary for my young fans. And make them acceptable to talk about. So that it doesn’t become this festering thing that they don’t know how to deal with,” said Dove, whose name is a tribute to her late father. “A lot of people in my family, including myself, deal with some variety of mental health stuff.”

Dove is part of a new generation of young stars who have decided to keep it real with their fans when talking about their struggles and sharing the less-than picture perfect aspects of their lives, including Riverdale stars Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes, Ariana Grande, and Rowan Blanchard. Lili, in particular, has been vocal about her struggles dealing with online trolls, an issue Dove spoke to during her Cosmo interview.

“I need a break,” Dove admitted, talking about social media and comments on malicious YouTube videos attacking her traumatic history. “When you see enough, you start to get really freaked out. Like in an animalistic way, where you’re like, ‘Ah, oh my God, danger everywhere.'”

While social media has caused trouble for many stars, millennial icons like Dove and Ariana have found a way to use their online presence to help guide their fans through the same issues they grapple with on a daily basis and bring some transparency into their carefully cultivated images.

Mad props to Dove, Ari, Lili, and their peers for taking something that’s been such a negative presence in their lives and trying to make it a positive force for good when engaging with their fans. Hopefully we all can find some Dove Cameron-energy for the rest of 2019.

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