As one of the celebrities who most openly talks about her own mental health issues, Lady Gaga made a stunning speech at the Grammys on Feb. 10 to encourage others to love each other, love themselves, and seek help. Her recent film, A Star is Born, touches on such issues, and its song “Shallow” is what earned Lady Gaga the Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, along with her co-star Bradley Cooper.
One of the most outspoken mental health advocates in the entertainment industry, Gaga also won three Grammys
“[Mental health issues] are so important,” Gaga said. “A lot of artists deal with that.”
She’s certainly right on that count. Mental health issues are a major problem everywhere, but with the huge amount of pressure that celebrities experience from all sides, the numbers of those with mental illness in Hollywood is higher than most.
Lady Gaga herself has grappled with significant mental health concerns. In her speech at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Patron of the Artist Awards, Gaga detailed the symptoms she experienced in her own struggle with mental health.
“I began to notice that I would stare off into space and black out for seconds or minutes,” Gaga said.
She also took time in that speech to call on others to facilitate an open conversation about mental health, and, most of all, to remember to be kind.
“The need in this world for kindness is paralyzing,” Gaga said. “The negative news and tragedies are non-stop and overwhelming. Let’s make kindness overwhelming.”
Her message at the Grammys was similar, but shorter, more digestible, and much more far-reaching.
“So if you see someone hurting, don’t look away,” Gaga urged. “And if you’re hurting, even though it might be hard, try to find that bravery within yourself to dive deep and go tell somebody and take them up in your head with you.”
By deciding to focus on mental health at the Grammys, not only did Gaga reach her usual audience, she also spoke to any and all music lovers who watched the Grammys. Just under 20 million people watched the Grammys this year. That’s a lot of people who are now thinking about mental health, and a lot of people who may be struggling with mental illness.
Negative stigma creates fear and shame in those with mental illness
There are many reasons why those with mental illness may be resistant to getting treatment. Negative stigma surrounding mental health, which works to cause fear and shame within the mentally ill person, is the biggest reason why. There are feelings of failure and inadequacy associated with mental illness — the person believes that something is wrong with them, and that to admit that they need help is a sign of weakness. Some reasons are more simple: a lack of funds to pay for treatment, a lack of knowledge about where to get treatment, or simply not wanting to spill your deepest, darkest secrets to a perfect stranger.
Nevertheless, as Lady Gaga so eloquently manages to point out in her Grammys speech, the most beneficial thing you can do for your mental health is to take someone up into your head with you. Let go of the worries, let go of the stigma, and seek help. It will get better.
Header image courtesy of Variety