Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Lada Gaga is consistently transparent about her struggles with mental health issues. A vocal advocate for those dealing with the same issues, she even created her own foundation with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, to raise awareness and offer help to those in need of support.
Her mom recently spoke out about the bullying her daughter endured beginning in middle school, simply for being ‘unique.’
In 2012, Gaga created the Born This Way foundation with her mother, setting on a mission “to support the mental and emotional wellness of young people by putting their needs, ideas, and voices first.”
The Oscar-winning singer spoke about the need for compassion at a recent SAG-AFTRA Foundation annual fundraiser Patron Of the Artists Awards event in November. “We are losing a generation of young people who do not believe that their voices are worth hearing,” she said, encouraging SAG-AFTRA to team up her foundation to provide mental health teams for those afflicted. “The need in this world for kindness is paralyzing. The negative news and tragedies are nonstop and overwhelming.”
Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, stressed the urgency for transparency and acceptance regarding mental health issues. “We need to share our stories so that global mental health no longer resides and festers in the darkness,” she implored, according to USA Today. “When I speak about mental health, especially when I’m speaking about mine, it is often met with quietness. Or maybe, a somber line of fans, waiting outside to whisper to me in the shadows about their darkest secrets. We need to bring mental health into the light.”
A parent’s perspective
Gaga’s mom Cynthia spoke to CBS News recently on realizing when her daughter started having difficulties. Sharing that Gaga has always had a her own sense of individuality, Cynthia knew that being ‘unique’ wasn’t always accepted.
“Stefani was very unique. And that wasn’t always appreciated by her peers. And as a result, she went through a lot of difficult times. Humiliated, taunted, isolated,” Cynthia revealed. “When you’re a young woman, this really severely impacts you.”
Cynthia started noticing changes in her daughter’s usually upbeat nature during adolescence. “It was in middle school when I saw that turn happen,” she said. “She went from a very happy and aspirational young girl to somebody that started to question her self-worth, to have doubts about herself. That is when we actually saw the turn.”
A new course of action
Gaga’s mother also commented on how mental health issues were treated when she was younger, where those suffering would be told to just push through. “When I was growing up, times were different. The way that we would deal with things is what I learned, and that’s what I resorted to … I relied on getting a grip,” she said. “I relied on the generational grit of just sucking it up and getting on with it.”
Now, teaming with her daughter to help others through the Born This Way foundation, Cynthia encourages parents to first listen to their kids rather than rushing to rescue tactics. “I think as parents, our natural instinct is to go into problem-solving mode. When, in fact, you know, they really just want us to take them seriously and understand what they’re saying,” she said.
Cynthia also urges parents to share their own stories of struggles with mental health issues, explaining that by showing vulnerability, their children become more willing to be open. “We’ve learned from our research that young people often don’t turn to their parents because they feel – there’s fear of being judged,” she said. “Also, we as parents, we don’t talk about our own struggles. I encourage parents to be vulnerable. Talk about your current or past struggles. So it really models healthy conversations and good behavior. The biggest thing is to really talk to them. And it’s certainly okay to not be okay.”
For more information on the Born This Way foundation, go to https://bornthisway.foundation