When Demi Lovato launched her “Tell Me You Love Me Tour” in San Diego on Monday night, students from Parkland, Florida, were not only on her mind. They were on stage around her.
Lovato and her corporate sponsors financed the trip for a handful of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the setting of the nation’s most recent mass shooting. They joined the singer at a pre-show event and on stage at Viejas Arena as part of Lovato’s efforts to shine a spotlight on mental health issues when she is on tour.
The first date of her concert tour came 12 days after a teen gunman opened fire at the high school on Valentine’s Day, killing 17 people and wounding at least 14, most of them students.
Concertgoers captured the emotional moments as Lovato sang her song “Warrior” with the students on stage.
As Lovato sang, screens behind her showed fans how they could donate to the CAST Foundation by text message, money she said would go to supporting the students from Florida.
“I want to make sure their voices are being heard and we can provide them with the mental health and post trauma care they need,” Lovato said in statement.
It was the first stop of the tour, but not the first time Lovato brought this type of discussion to San Diego. She is a part owner of the mental health and wellness organization CAST Centers and holds pre-show sessions with concertgoers to discuss issues and resources related to mental health.
In 2016, about 100 people attended a CAST Centers workshop at her San Diego stop of the “Future Now Tour” at Mattress Firm Amphitheatre in Chula Vista.
The singer was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010 and spent three months in treatment that year for drug abuse, bulimia and a self-harming disorder. She spoke with the Union-Tribune ahead of the 2016 concert about her mental-health education mission and her efforts to share her story far and wide.
“I think every artist has the ability to speak out about things they believe in, and that it’s important, but it’s also a personal choice,” Lovato said. “Some people like to keep it private, and that’s totally their choice. But, for me, I see the importance of sharing my story and speaking out.”
Also joining Lovato on stage on Monday night were the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus and San Diego Women’s Chorus to sing “Tell Me You Love Me” and “Sorry Not Sorry” with her.
The San Diego Women’s Chorus shared this video of their performance on Facebook.