Model Rick Genest, otherwise known as “Zombie Boy,” a friend of Lady Gaga’s, who was featured in her “Born This Way” video, was found dead in his home yesterday. The young model was only 32. His death had been described by the singer to have been an apparent suicide, according to People Magazine, though she later deleted the tweet..
iHeart Radio Canada released the news, which also confirmed that Genest was found dead inside his residence in Montreal, Canada, on August 1, 2018. Lady Gaga took to Twitter, sharing the bad news with her fans and followers today.
“The suicide of friend Rick Genest, Zombie Boy is beyond devastating. We have to work harder to change the culture, bring Mental Health to the forefront and erase the stigma that we can’t talk about it. If you’re suffering, call a friend or family today. We must save each other.”
Lady Gaga points out in her erstwhile heartfelt post that she, like many others, believes mental health to be an important issue which concerns everyone. And yet, as she said, there is a stigma attached to having any sort of mental health concerns, which prevents many people from seeking out the help he or she may need.
In 2016, there were 44,965 recorded suicides, reports the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. The foundation also states that research has found that there are 25 suicide attempts for every suicide committed, leading to suicide being among the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States alone. Global figures show a vastly higher number. World Population Review shows alarming suicide rates in every country. Yet Mental Health America has research statistics that only one in five people will report an unmet mental health need.
Lady Gaga took to her social media a second time, with another message for her fans.
“Science tells us that it takes 21 days to form a habit, if you’re suffering from [a] Mental Health issue I beckon for today to be your first day or a continuation of the work you’ve been doing.”
“Reach out if you’re in pain, and if you know someone who is, reach out to them too.”
Rick Genest would have celebrated his 33rd birthday on August 7, 2018, only six days after he took his own life. He apparently had an Instagram post scheduled, because the last post to his Instagram account came after his death, today. The post was a dark image with a ring of light in the center of it; the image of the well from the film, The Ring, along with a message in poetic form to caption the photograph.