Lady Gaga and Dr. Tedros Adhanom have come together in a bid to end the stigma that still surrounds mental health and suicide.
Lady Gaga has spoken out on numerous occasions about the importance of, not only caring for your own mental health, but also actively working to end the stigma that still surrounds it.
Now, the singer has penned a powerful op-ed with Dr. Tedros Adhanom, director general of the World Health Organisation, to try to curb the stigma once and for all.
“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,” the pair wrote in a joint op-ed in the Guardian.
The A Star Is Born actress also paid tribute to fashion designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain, who took their own lives earlier this year, reminding people that “they are all sons or daughters, friends or colleagues, valued members of families and communities.”
Gaga continued: “Suicide is the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address.”
The pair note that mental health issues will touch one in four people in their lifetimes – with young people especially at risk.
“Yet despite the universality of the issue, we struggle to talk about it openly or to offer adequate care or resources,” they add. “Within families and communities, we often remain silenced by a shame that tells us that those with mental illness are somehow less worthy or at fault for their own suffering.”
The two to refer to suicide the as “the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address.”
Gaga then encourages readers to break the cycle that continues to “ostracise, blame and condemn” those who are suffering, highlighting the fact that suicide is the second leading cause of death globally among 15- to 29-year-olds.
“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 continued in the op-ed. “Research shows there is a fourfold return on investment for every dollar spent on treating depression and anxiety, the most common mental health conditions, making spending on the issue a great investment for both political leaders and employers, in addition to generating savings in the health sector.”
Both Gaga and Adhanom end by calling for “collective human action to tackle seemingly insurmountable problems.”
You can read the op-ed in full here.
Suicide is a delicate and complex subject, and the reasons behind it cannot be easily or fully quantified.
However, while you can never really generalise how struggling to cope can make you feel or act, the Samaritans have compiled a list of symptoms.
• Lacking energy or feeling tired
• Feeling restless and agitated
• Feeling tearful
• Not wanting to talk to or be with people
• Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy
• Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
• Finding it hard to cope with everyday things
If you think that these sound like you or someone you know, the charity has urged that you get in touch with them now.
Samaritans adds: “You don’t have to feel suicidal to get in touch. Only one person in five who calls Samaritans actually says that they feel suicidal.”
Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mind also provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. You can find more information on their website.