Jewish organization, the Ruderman Family Foundation—with offices in Boston, Mass., and Rehovot, Israel—has announced celebrated actor, producer, recording artist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Selena Gomez as the recipient of its 2022 Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion. The Foundation is recognizing Selena’s dedication to raising mental health awareness and her commitment to expanding access to mental health services and education for young people around the world.

“I am honored to be the recipient of this year’s Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion,” said Gomez. “Mental Health impacts all of us, and we each have a role to play in ensuring that everyone—regardless of their background—has access to mental health services. I hope by sharing my own story and using my platform, we can empower each other and more young people to address mental health.”

In her many candid conversations about mental health, Gomez has shared that her mental health treatment is “open-ended.” Despite her challenges, including a bipolar diagnosis, she strives to use her status as a public figure to share her own story in a way that enables other people to feel less alone and to find the help they need. “Mental health is personal for me. Figuring out how to manage my mental health hasn’t always been easy, but it’s something I am constantly working on, and I hope I can help others work on it, too,” Gomez has said.

The Ruderman Family Foundation commends Gomez’s openness around her own mental health experiences, a personal mission that was inspired by a lack of access to mental health resources when she was a child. In 2020, Gomez started the Rare Impact Fund shortly before launching Rare Beauty, making dual commitments to donate 1% of all sales from Rare Beauty products to the Rare Impact Fund, and raise $100 million over 10 years with philanthropic foundations, corporate partners, and individuals in the community to expand access to mental health services and education for young people. To date, the Fund has distributed $1.7 million in grants to 17 mental health organizations. The Fund’s Mental Health 101 campaign toolkit, which is shareable on social media, provides education surrounding mental health and encourages financial support for more mental health services in educational settings. In May 2022, the Rare Impact Fund and Gomez partnered with the Biden administration and other nonprofits to host the first Mental Health Youth Action Forum.

“Selena Gomez powerfully embodies our Foundation’s mission in the mental health arena—a mission which continues to take on greater importance amid today’s unprecedented mental health crisis for teens, young adults, and the entire population,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “Drawing inspiration from her personal journey, Selena has given voice to the struggles of countless individuals who have endured mental health challenges, while working tirelessly to increase access to indispensable mental health resources and programs.”

Gomez joins a notable list of recipients of the Morton E. Ruderman Award to be honored for mental health advocacy. Five-time NBA All-Star Kevin Love, Academy Award-nominated actor Taraji P. Henson, and decorated Olympian Michael Phelps all received the award in recognition of their contribution to reducing the stigma associated with mental health. Their initiation of candid public conversations on mental health mirror Gomez’s approach to the issue.

The award, now in its ninth year, was named after Morton E. Ruderman, a founder of the Ruderman Family Foundation. A successful entrepreneur, mentor, and proud family man, he saw his success as the result of help he received from others and was therefore passionate about providing opportunities for others—including assisting many people in becoming independent and successful in business. In prior years, the award has gone to advocates from several societal sectors, including Love, Henson, and Phelps, as well as acclaimed filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin, former United States Senator and driving force behind the Americans with Disability Act Tom Harkin, disability self-advocate Ari Ne’eman, and Harvard University Professor Dr. Michael Stein.

In addition to its work to strengthen relations between Israel and the American Jewish community, a core mission of the Ruderman Family Foundation is to end the stigma associated with mental health. As well as its annual Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion, the Foundation also works to identify gaps in mental health resources and programs within the high school and higher education communities. The Foundation supports local organizations demonstrating deep impact in improving the mental health outcomes in their community and works alongside organizations such as the Boston Red Sox to combat the stigma surrounding mental health in sports.

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