Singer and actress, Lady Gaga partnered with the director- general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and together, they have co-written a significantly moving essay for UK newspaper The Guardian on suicide, mental health stigma and the lack of resources needed to help eradicate the “mental health emergency.” The essay was released to commemorate World Mental Health Day, an annual global event on the 10th of October. The strongly motivated essay addresses the issues with a global perspective, referencing world statistics and figures. “By the time you finish reading this, at least six people will have killed themselves around the world,” the essay begins, also adding that 800,000 people kill themselves annually. People who are are “all sons or daughters, friends or colleagues, valued members of families and communities”. The intention was clearly to rouse interest and draw attention to the rapidly worsening situation.

Both Gaga and Ghebreyesus hope to gain global attention in prioritizing such health issues as well as in de-stigmatization particularly in funding, empathy and proper treatment around the world. Globally, mental health receives less than 1 percent of aid. “The two of us have taken different paths in life,” they continue in the op-ed, “but both of us have seen how political leadership, funding, innovation and individual acts of bravery and compassion can change the world. It is time to do the same for mental health.”

The singer has been vocal about her personal mental health struggles as a sexual assault survivor when she was 19, revealing that she still suffers from PTSD from the incident. This makes the cause a more invested one for her as she calls everyone to support the new movement.

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I have always been honest about my physical and mental health struggles. Searching for years to get to the bottom of them. It is complicated and difficult to explain, and we are trying to figure it out. As I get stronger and when I feel ready, I will tell my story in more depth, and plan to take this on strongly so I can not only raise awareness, but expand research for others who suffer as I do, so I can help make a difference. I use the word "suffer" not for pity, or attention, and have been disappointed to see people online suggest that I'm being dramatic, making this up, or playing the victim to get out of touring. If you knew me, you would know this couldn't be further from the truth. I'm a fighter. I use the word suffer not only because trauma and chronic pain have changed my life, but because they are keeping me from living a normal life. They are also keeping me from what I love the most in the world: performing for my fans. I am looking forward to touring again soon, but I have to be with my doctors right now so I can be strong and perform for you all for the next 60 years or more. I love you so much.

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“Suicide is the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address,” they state, citing the deaths of well-known  celebrities like Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade this year alone. “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.”

“At present, every nation in the world is a ‘developing country’ when it comes to mental health,” Gaga stresses. One in four of us will have to deal with a mental health condition at some point in our lives with recent studies showing that women are more prone to suicide. Mental Health issues have persisted long enough and it’s time we paid it the required attention. The essay ended with a call to action and hopefully this will set things in motion for the tides to turn.


Also related: Read Blanck’s Mental Health Issue for FREE here


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