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Alexa Ray Joel speaks up on depression

By Breeanna Hare, CNN
Alexa Ray Joel plans to shed light on heartbreak-related depression.
Alexa Ray Joel plans to shed light on heartbreak-related depression.
  • Alexa Ray Joel is planning to speak up about heartbreak-related depression in 2010
  • The singer experienced it first-hand in December
  • She plans to study psychology to learn more about it and how the mind works
  • She's offered her support to others dealing with the condition on her Facebook page

(CNN) -- The end of 2009 was a "whirlwind" for Alexa Ray Joel, but she's stepping into 2010 with a new focus: Raising awareness about heartbreak-related depression.

"I have many exciting new developments for the New Year," Joel wrote on her Facebook page December 31. "Most importantly, [helping] young girls with something I feel I know a GREAT deal about: Heartbreak-Related Depression."

The EMS responded to a 911 call about Joel on December 5, and the 24-year-old songstress was rushed to the hospital after swallowing a handful of homeopathic pain pills, her publicist confirmed to CNN. The pills are not considered to be life threatening. The New York City, New York-based singer had been upset over her break-up with 38-year-old musician and former bandmate Jimmy Riot, according to the publicist.

Media reports had suggested that her depression was sparked by a fight with her mother, Christie Brinkley. The former model and her ex-husband Billy Joel responded with a statement denying the allegation.

"As much as we hate dignifying tabloid stories with a response, we feel we must set the record straight," Joel and Brinkley said in the joint statement on December 10. "Every parent can imagine the pain and anguish ... of a daughter who is working to recover from the dangerous actions she took while suffering a devastating heartbreak."

Joel has decided to speak up about this cause and also return to school.

"Although it does not get much attention in our society, it is a very serious and painful condition that often gets 'swept under the carpet,' " she wrote on Facebook. "I hope to bring this topic more to light... I'm even going back to school for Psychology in hopes to learn more about this and many other afflictions that many of us have had to face."

For those who are struggling, Joel has offered suggestions such as finding a therapist, trying out intensive outpatient programs and, she wrote, "if you're still feeling blue," taking a hot bath with herbal salts to perk up.

"Thank you ALL for sharing your thoughts with me on heartbreak-related depression. It's a comfort to know that we're all in this together," Joel wrote on Sunday. "Let's all help to shed the light on [this]; it is a REAL & SERIOUS condition that affects millions, and it SHOULD get TREATED!!!"