The Digital Issue

Taking Charge of Your Mental Health With Award-Winning Singer & Songwriter JoJo

For this special episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW sits down with GRAMMY Award-winning singer and songwriter JoJo to talk about depression, addiction, and learning how to become mentally strong.

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Meet JoJo

Jacket: Prada; Jewelry: Young In the Mountains; WesFilms

JoJo is a GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter, and actress. She rose to fame as a teen, when she became the youngest solo artist to top the U.S. Billboard Pop songs chart with her debut single, “Leave (Get Out).”

She stepped away from music for a bit due to a legal battle with a record label. But she returned to the spotlight with new music. And now, she’s talking about her mental health journey along the way. 

Why I Wanted to Interview JoJo

I wanted to interview JoJo on The Verywell Mind Podcast for a long time. I am a big fan of her music, and I knew she had a great story to share.

I first came in contact with her in 2018. Someone reached out to me on Twitter and said, “JoJo just shared your TEDx talk!” I reached out to her privately to thank her, and she actually responded (most celebrities don’t). I offered to send her a copy of my book, and she graciously gave me her address.

A few weeks later, she messaged me to say that she was enjoying my book. I was thrilled that she was reading it and honored she took the time to follow up with me.

Her willingness to share my work on mental strength let me know she was invested in talking about mental health issues—long before many other celebrities were doing so. She has been open in talking about her struggles through her music and on social media for a long time as well.

JoJo

I think that when we make ourselves vulnerable or more transparent, it encourages other people to do the same.

— JoJo
JoJo sitting on top of media cabinet next to record player
Jacket: Prada; Jewelry: Young In the Mountains; Felisha Tolentino.


So, I was excited to hear she was releasing a new album called "Trying Not to Think About It" that dives even deeper into the topic of mental health.

The Verywell Mind team and I also knew JoJo would make a great cover star for our first ever Verywell Mind digital edition. I was thrilled when she accepted. 

I flew to LA to record the show at Studio City Sounds, where I got to meet JoJo in person. Most of our episodes have been recorded virtually during the pandemic, but I love being able to do interviews face-to-face whenever I can. 

JoJo is such a kind and genuine person (something I had already heard from everyone who had met her while working on the digital cover). She was just as eager to talk about all things related to mental health as I was, and I am excited to be able to share her story and her tips.

JoJo's Mental Health Journey

JoJo chose to start talking about her mental health publicly a few years back. She revealed she had battled depression and shared that she attends therapy and takes antidepressants. 

While many people talk about their struggles with mental health once they feel better, JoJo clarifies that managing her mental health is an ongoing process. 

She openly shares the strategies that help her take charge of her mental health to encourage others. However, she also makes it clear that she doesn’t have all the answers and discusses how her views of mental strength have shifted over time.

JoJo sitting on top of media cabinet next to record player
Jacket: Prada; Jewelry: Young In the Mountains; Felisha Tolentino.


Standouts From the Episode

  • How JoJo became comfortable talking about mental health
  • Why depression isn’t a sign of weakness
  • How her father’s addiction affected her
  • The internal struggle she felt about taking antidepressants
  • Why she stopped taking antidepressants and how she knew she should take them again
  • How therapy has helped her
  • How she deals with self-doubt
  • How talking to a therapist is different than talking to friends 
  • The advice JoJo would give to anyone hesitant to seek help
  • The other artists JoJo credits with inspiring her to speak out about mental health
  • How JoJo works on improving her relationship with food, alcohol, and partners
  • The one thing she can do now that helps her see that she’s grown mentally stronger

What JoJo Learned About Mental Health

JoJo reflects on how she used to feel the need to always act tough, even when she wasn’t feeling strong. But over time, she has realized that she can have depression and still be a mentally strong person. 

We [creative artists] can tend to be really sensitive and emotional and that’s what makes us good at our jobs. But that’s what can make going through life kind of hairy.

JoJo also emphasizes that you can still take medication and be mentally strong—a concept she struggled with for a while. For many people, taking medication can feel like a crutch. But in reality, medication can be a helpful tool that makes other coping skills much more effective. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

More About the Podcast

The Verywell Mind Podcast is available across all streaming platforms. If you like the show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.

Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too.