In the wake of several shocking and devastating deaths within the industry making news headlines within the past week, bringing awareness in regard to the importance of mental health has reached an all-time high. Just days following the conclusion of Mental Health Awareness month in May, two loved and known celebrities took their lives in apparent suicides. With depression being a rumored cause behind the suicides of designer Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, several celebrities are speaking out yet again about the importance of mental health. And as people struggle to seek help, Lady Gaga is making a call for everyone to be kind. As it was reported by E!, on Sunday the 32-year-old spoke out on the topic while presenting her mother Cynthia Germanotta with the Global Changemakers Award at the Children Mending Hearts’ Empathy Rocks fundraiser.
The singer and her mother were both recognized for their work with the Born This Way Foundation. During being presented with the award, Gaga took the time to address themes of mental health, mental illness, and suicide and how the empathy of others can help ease the process for those scared to speak up. “We bring people together to have real, honest conversations and to be kind,” Gaga started her speech with.
“Kindness is not an afterthought to our work. It is the driving power for everything we do. It is the lens we view every challenge through. It is framing the way we put everything around every possible solution. To me, almost every problem you can think of can be solved with kindness. At least it could be made better. Kindness has a soft undertone. Sometimes people think it is weak. It is tremendously powerful. It can change the way that we view each other. The way that we view our communities and the way that we work. Even the way that we feel about ourselves, by being kinder to ourselves. We need more kindness in the world.”
As the songstress continued to make her speech, she reflected on the words of her friend, Breedlove, who recently shared a message about his own mental illness and suicidal thoughts online. “I can’t remain silent any longer. The passing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain has made me want to speak up about my mental illness. I have been experiencing suicidal ideation and cyclical obsessive suicidal thoughts for the past four years,” she read to the crowd, quoting her friend’s letter. “At first, I thought I was alone and a bad person, but once I was brave enough to tell my friends and family—tould they just think I was looking for attention? Would I be immediately hospitalized against my will? I was able, to be honest with my psychiatrist. The honesty was met with genuine love and concern and loads of support from my mental health team. I began to meet others like me. I know I am lucky to have support like this, but there is so much help out there if you have the courage to be honest with yourself and others about what you are going through.”
Gaga was also candid with the audience about her own struggles, in particular, her own mental health challenges, but told the crowd that keeping it inside and not talking about it or seeking help does more damage than good.
“I have struggled for a long time, both being public and not public about my mental health issues or my mental illness. But, I truly believe that secrets keep you sick.”
Despite her struggles and challenges though, Gaga revealed that it was through the empathy of others that she found the courage within herself to prevail. “I realize that it’s actually safer to say how I feel. What Children Mending Hearts is doing today rocks because it’s safer for others who feel like me.”
Closing out her speech, Gaga made it a point to acknowledge her mother and urged everyone to be kind for the sake of anyone and everyone struggling.
“Thank you, Mom, for not being afraid of my darkest thoughts and for doing what many don’t realize goes very far: just holding my hand and running an organization that helps hold the hands of others and joins the hands of others. I love you. Suicidal ideation feels like a spell and we have to have empathy. Be kind and help each other break that spell and live and thrive.”