The 32-year-old star who also admitted to suffering from mental illness hopes to ignite a new movement that will help people going through depression
One of the leading causes of suicide, depression has robbed the lives of many people around the world, including Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade and our own actress Shoki Mokgapa who tragically took their own lives. In light of that Lady Gaga has opened up in a letter published by The Guardian Newspaper:
“Suicide is the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address. Stigma, fear and lack of understanding compound the suffering of those affected and prevent the bold action that is so desperately needed and so long overdue.
One in four of us will have to deal with a mental health condition at some point in our lives, and if we’re not directly affected, someone we care for is likely to be. Our young people are particularly vulnerable, with suicide being the second leading cause of death globally among 15-29-year-olds and half of all mental illness beginning by the age of 14.
Yet despite the universality of the issue, we struggle to talk about it openly or to offer adequate care or resources. Within families and communities, we often remain silenced by a shame that tells us that those with mental illness are somehow less worthy or at fault for their own suffering.
Instead of treating those facing mental health conditions with the compassion we would offer to someone with a physical injury or illness, we ostracize, blame and condemn. In too many places support services are non-existent and those with treatable conditions are criminalized – literally chained up in inhumane conditions, cut off from the rest of society without hope.
Mental health currently receives less than 1% of global aid. Domestic financing on prevention, promotion, and treatment is similarly low. At present, every nation in the world is a “developing” country when it comes to mental health…
We can no longer afford to be silenced by stigma or stymied by misguided ideas that portray these conditions as a matter of weakness or moral failing. The time has come for us all, collectively, to tackle the causes and symptoms of mental illness, and provide care for those who suffer from it. You don’t have to be an international artist or the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) to make an impact.
About Her Depression:
“No one else knew (about the sexual assault she experienced when she was 19 years old). It was almost like I tried to erase it from my brain. And when it finally came out, it was like a big, ugly monster. And you have to face the monster to heal. For me, with my mental health issues, half of the battle in the beginning was, I felt like I was lying to the world because I was feeling so much pain but nobody knew. So that’s why I came out and said that I have PTSD because I don’t want to hide – any more than I already have to.
“I feel stunned. Or stunted. You know that feeling when you’re on a roller coaster and you’re just about to go down the really steep slope? That fear and the drop in your stomach? My diaphragm seizes up. Then I have a hard time breathing, and my whole body goes into a spasm. And I begin to cry. That’s what it feels like for trauma victims every day, and it’s … miserable. I always say that trauma has a brain. And it works its way into everything that you do.”
May her letter inspire you to take action and reach out. If you need to talk with a healthcare professional about suicide or anxiety please contact the 24-hour Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0800 12 13 14.