“Suicide is the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address,” she wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian, co-authored by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organisation. “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.”
Gaga noted that one in four of us will have to deal with a mental health condition at some point in our lives and that 800,000 people will commit suicide this year. “That’s more than the population of Washington DC, Oslo or Cape Town,” she wrote. “Sometimes they are famous names such as Anthony Bourdain or Kate Spade that make headlines, but they are all sons or daughters, friends or colleagues, valued members of families and communities.”
Gaga spoke out about her own struggles earlier in the year following the deaths of Bourdain and Spade. “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,” she said at a fundraiser in California.
Now, the singer and actress is fighting for more awareness and funding for mental health. “Mental health currently receives less than 1% of global aid,” she wrote. “Such paltry investment is not just bad for individuals, it is destructive for communities and undermines economies.”
“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,” she continued, before calling on everyone to take a stand. “We can all learn how to offer support to loved ones going through a difficult times. And we can all be a part of a new movement – including people who have faced mental health illness themselves – to call on governments and industry to put mental health at the top of their agendas.”
We couldn’t agree more.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental health issues, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.
To mark Anxiety and Depression Awareness month, marie claire spoke to seven high-profile women about their experiences with anxiety and how they’ve learnt to cope. Read more in the November issue of marie claire, out now.