Dolly Parton, Mindy Kaling and more appeared at the virtual #WOW: Whole Health Includes Mental Health event on Thursday

By Benjamin VanHoose
May 14, 2021 11:34 AM

Dolly Parton is spreading positivity with her legendary voice and smile.

The country music legend, 75, appeared virtually for the #WOW: Whole Health Includes Mental Health event on Thursday night, and performed her song, "Light of a Clear Blue Morning," and speaking on the stigma related to mental illness.

"I'm often told I look so happy, but to be honest — that's the botox," Parton joked during her segment of the #WOW21 event, which was hosted by Lisa Kudrow. "Well not all of it, but some of it anyway!"

"But seriously, we all experience moments of anxiety or depression at one time or another," she continued, "and I believe it's how we handle those moments that ultimately defines us."

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Dolly Parton Visits The Cast of "9 To 5"
Dolly Parton
| Credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Before her performance, Parton explained what led to writing "Light of a Clear Blue Morning," recalling feeling anxious as she was looking to make a big career move, so much so that she "couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't think straight."

"But, through much prayer and the support of friends, I finally stood my ground and I walked away," she said of the fateful early-career move. "And on my way home, I wrote this song, and I hope it'll lift you up like it did me."

After singing the tune — which includes lyrics like "Everything's gonna be alright/ It's gonna be okay" — the artist gave two thumbs up and blew a kiss to the camera.

PEOPLE Editor-in-Chief Dan Wakeford also appeared at the #WOW21 event — which included panelists in conversation to end the stigma, blame and shame of mental illness — and spoke about using media as a force for good.

Wakeford shared during the event that when he started as editor-in-chief, he thought about what he could do to make a difference. Inspired by loved ones who struggled with mental illness, Wakeford launched PEOPLE's "Let's Talk About It" campaign. "PEOPLE has always been an authentically positive brand that has brought ... positive change to the world," he said.

Funds raised from the #WOW2021 event supported the UCLA Friends of the Semel Institute Research Scholars and UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital Board of Advisors Clinical Innovation Grants. In addition to Parton, other special guests included Ava Duvernay, Mindy Kaling and PEOPLE Editor-in-Chief Dan Wakeford.

If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.