"CAST Centers has played an extremely important role in my life," Lovato says of the facility where she was once a patient
Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Demi Lovato leads by example in the effort to destigmatize mental illness. The singer has been very open about her personal struggles, and now she’s taking it a step further by becoming a co-owner of a rehab facility.

In an interview with Tracy Smith for CBS Sunday Morning, the 24-year-old revealed that she co-owns CAST Centers, a Los Angeles mental health and wellness treatment center where she was a patient in 2011. When asked why she decided to partner with the organization, her answer was simple: “It just feels good!”

But it didn’t always feel so good. Lovato admits that she wasn’t on her best behavior during her early days in treatment for depression, bulimia and substance abuse. “I was a nightmare,” she admits. “I would say … the word that I want to say, but it’s so inappropriate that I can’t. And this will be on a Sunday morning, so I’m not going to say it!”

But Lovato persevered, and thanks to her efforts (and the help and patience of the CAST Center staff) she emerged stronger than before.
Currently she’s entertaining fans across the globe on her co-headlining tour with Nick Jonas, and this summer she spoke on mental health issues at the Democratic National Convention. “I’m sitting here right now, alive and more successful than I’ve ever been,” she tells Smith.

“It sounds ridiculous, but I kind of made a pact with God. And I don’t even think you’re supposed to do that, but I promised, ‘If You make me a singer one day, I’m going to use my voice for so much more than singing, and I’m going to help people with it.'”

Lovato also touched on the partnership via Twitter on Thursday afternoon. “CAST Centers has played an extremely important role in my life + health,” she wrote. “Proud to announce my partnership with them.”

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CAST Centers Founder and CEO Mike Bayer is quick to sing the praises of his new pop star co-owner. “Demi Lovato is the perfect partner for us, as she shares our mission to revolutionize the perception of mental health,” he tells PEOPLE. “We’re excited to further our work together on erasing the associated stigma and replacing it with a positive orientation toward personal development, self-awareness and overall happiness.”

Bayer and Lovato are bringing mental health awareness to the masses with CAST Centers on Tour – an intimate interactive expert-led seminar that occurs before each of the stops on the singer’s current tour.

“In working with Demi, we are able to create widespread awareness and inspire a new generation to think about mental health in the same way as physical health,” Bayer adds. “By the time CAST Centers on Tour ends on Sept. 17, we will have gotten in front of 12,000 young people to spread this message of self-empowerment, and that’s just the beginning. I’m excited about what lies ahead.”