She's a singer, songwriter and actress, but there's more to Demi Lovato than that. The 22-year-old is also a passionate champion of a cause close to her heart.

On Thursday, Lovato visited TODAY and opened up about her experiences with mental illness and addiction, and she shared how she hopes to help others.

"Mental illnesses in general, they're not talked about as much as they should [be]," she explained. "I would love for people to become more educated."

Which is why she's taken on the role of paid spokesperson for Be Vocal, a campaign aimed at raising awareness.

It's been almost five years since Lovato checked into rehab, citing "emotional and physical issues," and subsequently learned she had bipolar disorder. Since then, she's spoken out on that subject as well as her struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.

"I wish that more people can understand from a point where it's not a choice to have an addiction," the former Disney star said. "And with bipolar disorder, it's a chemical imbalance and it's something that you have to figure out your own treatment with your own team. In order to do that, it takes time."

Lovato is proof that investing time really pays off.

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