Lady Gaga put pen to paper this week not to write new music, but to speak out about the mental health and suicide crisis, according to Pitchfork. Along with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, the entertainer wrote an op-ed for The Guardian calling for governments and leaders around the world to address mental health illnesses and the lack of funding for tackling such issues.
“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,” Lady Gaga and Ghebreyesus wrote.
According to the op-ed, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 15-29. Despite this, many people still struggle to talk about the problem or to openly seek care. Mental illness is often treated as something shameful or less worthy of treating compared to physical illness or injury.
“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,” they wrote.
Lady Gaga recently opened up about her own sexual assault, noting that she believes that victims like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford remember their experiences because of the biological response in the brain to trauma.
“There’s science and scientific proof, it’s biology, that people change. The brain changes. What it does is it takes the trauma, and it puts in a box and it files it away and shuts it so that we can survive the pain,” she told Stephen Colbert.
watch this and listen to every word she says pic.twitter.com/dHYLxD7Xer— Gaga Daily (@gagadaily) October 5, 2018
Lady Gaga first shared her story of assault with Howard Stern on his morning show. She told Stern that she had been raped by a producer when she was 19-years-old. The singer said that she had been afraid to speak about the incident because she didn’t want to be defined by it.
Since then, Lady Gaga has repeatedly opened up about the assault in order to help other victims. She also wrote a song called “Til It Happens to You,” based on her own experience. That song was nominated for an Oscar.
“The two of us have taken different paths in life. 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 authors concluded in the op-ed.