She shared how Kate Spade's and Anthony Bourdain's suicides encouraged her friend to seek help.
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images
Camila Mendes, Madelaine Petsch, and Storm Reid were all acknowledged at the 2018 Empathy Rocks event for Children Mending Hearts, a nonprofit against bullying and intolerance. But Lady Gaga had the unique honor of presenting her mom with an award. At the fundraiser, she announced that Cynthia Germanotta (mama Gaga), was the recipient of the Global Change Makers Award. Germanotta was recognized for her work toward the Born This Way Foundation, a mental health empowerment nonprofit that the mother-daughter pair cofounded. (Related: Lady Gaga Holds Back Tears While Talking About Her Chronic Pain)
Gaga used her time on stage to talk about mental health and kindness. During the speech, the singer shared a message from her friend Breedlove, who recently spoke out about his own suicidal thoughts not long after news broke of two recent highly publicized suicides. "The passing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain has made me want to speak up about my mental illness," Gaga read aloud, according to E! News. "I have been experiencing suicidal ideation and cyclical obsessive suicidal thoughts for the past four years. At first, I thought I was alone and a bad person, but once I was brave enough to tell my friends and family—would 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."
She went on to address her own experiences surrounding mental health. "I have struggled for a long time, both being public and not public about my mental health issues or my mental illness," she said, according to E! But, I truly believe that secrets keep you sick." (Related: 5 Ways to Support a Loved One Struggling with Depression)
It's true: Gaga has kept her mental health anything but a secret. She's opened up about suffering from PTSD and filmed a Netflix documentary giving a raw look at her highs and lows. She's been vocal about the role that meditation has played in allowing her to cope. (She even hosted a live meditation session in response to the Las Vegas shooting.) By being open and honest, Gaga has shown time and again that she wants to end the stigma surrounding mental health. (Related: Prince Harry Explains Why Going to Therapy Is So Important)
Sadly, the passings of Spade and Bourdain are part of a larger trend: Suicide rates in the U.S. are climbing in almost every state. In other words, Gaga's message is so important right now—and forever after. It's not easy to lay it all out there, especially as a public figure, but celebrity or not, it's so important to seek help when you need it.