“I have struggled for a long time, both being public and not public about my mental health issues… But I truly believe that secrets keep you sick.”
Lady Gaga joined her mother on stage at the 10th annual Children Mending Hearts Empathy Rocks fundraiser on Sunday (June 10), where she presented her mother Cynthia Germanotta with the Global Changemakers Award for her role as co-founder of the Born This Way Foundation.
The mother-daughter team established the foundation in 2012, with the goal of empowering youth by providing “genuine opportunities, quality resources, and platforms to make their voices heard.”
“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.
The eclectic singer emphasized the importance of kindness. “We [the foundation] bring people together to have real, honest conversations and to be kind. Kindness is not an afterthought to our work. It is the driving power for everything we do,” she said. “To me, almost every problem you can think of can be solved with kindness… 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.”
She thanked her mother for standing by her through it all, “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 join 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 the spell and live and thrive.”
Last year, Gaga lent her voice to the Heads Together campaign, the initiative spearheaded by the British Royals—Prince William, Duchess Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry—to de-stigmatize mental illness and encourage people to seek help. The singer video-chatted with Prince William for a promotional video, discussing the importance of caring for one’s mental health and how talking about it can break down the stigma and shame of struggling with it.
Gaga told William that it was gratifying to be able to open up to her fans without shame. “Even though it was hard, it was the best thing that could come out of my mental illness—to share it with other people and let our generation, as well as other generations, know that if you are feeling not well in your mind, you’re not alone. And people that you think would never have a problem, do.”