Q: Why is this year’s World Lupus Day so meaningful to you?
A: World Lupus Day is the moment when two causes I passionately support – lupus research and mental health awareness – intersect. LRA’s Lift Up Lupus campaign raises awareness of a little-understood disease and lets those of us who live with lupus know we have a lot to be hopeful about.
Q: What makes you hopeful?
A: Not long ago, I needed a kidney transplant because I developed a common but serious lupus complication, lupus nephritis. Now new medications may help save others from going through what I did, and many other breakthroughs are on the way. I hope you will help advance research discovery by donating to the Lupus Research Alliance – one of the only nonprofits I know where every dollar donated goes directly to fund research programs. And, they’ve committed to $2.5 million in a study testing a potential treatment for the effects of lupus on problems with concentration and memory.
The nonprofit I started, Rare Impact Fund, launched Mental Health 101 this month to provide guidance and resources to people with all conditions, including lupus, to access.
Q: Why talk about lupus and mental health?
A: From the condition itself to the medications used to treat the disease, lupus can cause loneliness due to fear of infection, not being able to predict how you’ll feel each day, and frustration from chronic pain and fatigue. It is important for people with lupus to look for help when needed and know you are not alone.
Q: Where can people go for help?
A: Our new Mental Health 101 campaign, supported by the non-profit Rare Impact Fund that I founded, can help you find resources and services to support your mental well-being. For instance, you can text HOME to 741741 in the U.S. and Canada to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor or visit United for Global Mental Health for helplines in many countries around the world.
Q: How do you manage your own stress?
A: It’s not always easy for me to manage my stress as I am always pulled in so many directions because I absolutely love what I do for a living and have many things I want to accomplish. That being said, I do have to set boundaries and make my health a priority. A big stress relief for me is spending quality time with my friends and family which after the last year, I don’t think any of us will take for granted how much it matters to have that time with the people in your life.
The Lupus Research Alliance thanks Selena Gomez for helping Lift Up Lupus during Lupus Awareness Month and on World Lupus Day.