Selena Gomez Joins SXSW for Standout Panel On Mental Health

Yesterday, Sunday the 10th, SXSW hosted the panel “Mindfulness Over Perfection: Getting Real On Mental Health” and Latinitas was in attendance. We were able to experience the impactful panel just a few rows away from Ms. Gomez, and are here to break it all down for you. The star-studded lineup featured WonderMind Co-Founder Selena Gomez, her mother, and WonderMind Co-Founder Mandy Teefey, the New York Jets’ Defensive End Solomon Thomas, therapist Dr. Corey Yeager, and psychologist Dr. Jessica Stern. The conversation was raw and vulnerable, as the panelists opened up about why they were drawn to speak about mental health, and what they’ve learned since. The at-times-heavy discussion was filled with great advice, comforting honesty, and insightful takeaways. While there were amazing things said throughout the entire conversation, here are some highlights. 

The conversation started with a question for Ms. Gomez on how releasing her AppleTV documentary, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, became a turning point in her mental health journey, “I released a documentary and I was terrified to do it. And I went back and forth on whether I’d do it or not. And I think the moment I did that, I felt this insane amount of release because there wasn’t any hiding anymore. There wasn’t just this image that people could see and think, oh, it looks nice. And it was probably one of the hardest moments of my life. So I would say it’s helped release a lot of anxiety of keeping it in, just to let people know I’m having a hard day or I just need a minute.” 

When asked what prompted Ms. Gomez to release said documentary, Selena shared how it all started with Lose You To Love Me, “I had women coming up to me and single moms, and just hearing their stories just moved me. I felt like I could sacrifice myself so that others could see what it might really be like, I guess.”

As to how football jock and Defensive End Solomon Thomas got involved, well that stories a little different, “I was raised by two beautiful parents, had an amazing sister who always let me be sensitive and emotional at home. That was my safe place at the time. But in reality, I was always in the locker room, around football players, around other guys. There being emotional and being sensitive wasn’t something that was allowed. It wasn’t a safe space, it was rejected. And to be honest, growing up those were things that we made fun of. We made fun of guys for crying, we made fun of guys for being sensitive. So getting into this work was a really hard journey for me. 

After that, you’re hit by a hurricane. And you find out that our sister is really struggling with mental health. And so later in life trying to erase all these things that I’ve learned, certain ways that I’ve lived by. Trying to erase this archaic mindset that I live by, being a man, being tough. If I get any feelings suppress them, rub dirt on it. And trying to help my sister, and by that time it was too late. I unfortunately lost my sister to suicide, and I’m hit in this world of mental health, and it’s taking a storm over me. I don’t know how to handle my emotions. I’m going through this journey of grief. I don’t know how to put my feelings of depression, and grief and anxiety into words, and I’m just trying to live by every day. I had to do the work, I had to go to therapy.” 

A big way Thomas believes we can stop the mental health stigma is by changing the way we speak about it, “I like to change the way that we talk about suicide. A lot of people say they committed suicide, I think it’s important to revese the take–they died by suicide. Because someone doesn’t commit cancer, they don’t commit ALS. And we need to treat mental health and suicide, depression, PSTD, bipolar disorder with the same respect as every disease out there.” 

Selena Gomez and her mother plan on taking the challenge to change the stigma into their own hands, with WonderMind, a brand aiming to be the first mental health fitness economy, “We realized that there’s not one place that you can go to help you explore whatever you’re feeling.” Explains WonderMind Co-Founder Mandy Teefey, “What we wanted to do was build this world with several different pillars from content, film, TV, podcasts, product, and by the requests of the audience that is avid readers of WonderMind, we will be launching an app really soon.” When it comes to content creation, WonderMind is a beast, “We launch about forty-six articles on our content hub, that all are broken down by different feelings. So whether you’re just having a bad day, or having feelings you don’t understand. We don’t diagnose you, because that’s not our forte. It’s definitely a place to explore what you need to know about you, and how you feel. It’s a discovery of yourself.”

To learn more, you can check out:

Or click here to watch the full panel on WonderMind’s own YouTube Channel. 


  • Camila Dejesus

    Magazine & Media Editor, Camila Dejesus has been writing since she was a child and enjoys all forms from creative writing down to narrative analysis. She graduated from Brooklyn College with a bachelor's in Television and Radio Production and works full-time at Latinitas Magazine. In her free time, she loves writing stories, water coloring, or playing songs on her Baritone Ukulele. Now, her greatest passion is finding new topics that will engage and inspire Latinx youth.

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