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Camila Cabello, Exclusive

Camila Cabello on Providing Mental Health Support for Activists: ‘Heal Yourself Before You Heal the Community’

'When you're struggling or feeling burnout, it's hard to show up for other people,' says the star, one of PEOPLE's Women Changing the World

3/3/2021 8:10:00 PM

.Camila_Cabello launched the Healing Justice Project in partnership with the nonprofit Movement Voter Fund to provide grants to 10 BIPOC, LGBTQ+and youth-led organizations to cover six months' worth of mental health support for their workers. 🙏

'When you're struggling or feeling burnout, it's hard to show up for other people,' says the star, one of PEOPLE's Women Changing the World

."What all the organizations have in common is that they are helping their communities, especially marginalized groups in their communities," says Cabello. "They all also expressed a need for these mental wellness resources."For QLatinx — a grassroots social-justice organization founded in the wake of the 2006 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando to empower Central Florida's LGBTQ+ Latino community — the support has been transformative.

"Our people are on the frontlines doing work [with] passion. This is what we do," says executive director Gabriella Rodriguez, 34. "It's awesome to be able to say, 'I need you to take a moment and step back.' We are role models for the community, so at the end of the day our cup needs to be full too."

Rodriguez says that thanks to the grant money, she's been able to meet one-on-one with each of her staff members to talk about their needs in terms of mental health."In this work, that's never been a conversation," she says. "For some it's literally like, 'Hey, I've always wanted to go to X, Y, and Z place.' I have others that talk therapy works for them. I have others that are [doing] healing circles and meditation. We're able to do something that historically we've never been able to do."

RELATED:Camila Cabello Gets Candid About Battling 'Relentless' OCD: 'I Was Desperate for Relief'Like QLatinx, the other organizations have been able to assess the individual needs of their workers to determine how to spend the grant money.

"In conversations, we talked about tools that have helped me in my own life, like breath work and learning how to calm down your nervous system," Cabello says. "For some people, maybe it's talk therapy. Finding a good therapist has been really helpful for me in challenging thinking patterns that were causing me to feel anxious or self-destructive. Doing 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation has been really helpful for me too."

"It feels so hard when I feel anxious or depressed," she continues. "And these are people on the frontlines that have so many oppressive systems that are preventing them from being their full selves because you're just trying to survive. Imagining what that kind of trauma and that struggle feels like in somebody else's body makes you be like, 'I don't want this for other people.' I know not everybody has the resources that I have access to because of where I am right now. So I want to help."

In the future, Cabello hopes to provide more rounds of grants to help activists in need."Meeting all these really cool, badass heroes in the community and around [the country] who are trying to move the world forward and make the world a better and safer place for everybody [has been amazing]," she says. "I'm hoping to learn more from them about what they do and what their experience in the world is like."

In the meantime, she'll be looking to her mom, Sinuhe Estrabao, for inspiration."My mom, [her] whole life is about serving other people," says Cabello. "She's loving people exactly as they are, with all of their flaws and their edges, me included. I'm her daughter, so she's a little bit biased, but she's actually like that with everybody. She's a legend."

For all the details on how Camila Cabello is changing the world, pick up the latest issue of  Read more: People »

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