In honor of World Mental Health Day, Gaga and Adhanom are working together to draw attention to misconceptions about mental health with an opinion piece written for The Guardian published Wednesday. Lady Gaga has already opened up about her own struggles with mental illness, discussing her experience with PTSD and sexual assault in a recent interview with Vogue and co-founding the mental health-focused Born This Way Foundation.
Beginning with statistics about suicide and mental health – “By the time you finish reading this, at least six people will have killed themselves around the world” – the article doesn’t shy away from the danger posed by mental illness.
They note that “Sometimes they are famous names such as Anthony Bourdain or Kate Spade that make headlines, but they are all sons or daughters, friends or colleagues, valued members of families and communities.”
Gaga and Adhanom are also quick to point out that suicide is just one symptom of a much larger issue. Stigma and misconceptions are also a serious threat for people suffering from mental illness.
“Suicide is the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address. 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 writes.
Gaga and Adhanom go on to draw attention to the lack of support that mental health receives – less than one percent of global aid – and call upon countries to do more. They also highlight various positive organizations that are already working to tackle mental illness, like a grandmother-run beach counseling service in Zimbabwe and the Sri Lankan government, which has set up a dedicated mental health framework.
Looking to the future, the pair calls upon readers and national governments to put more funding into mental health support, before highlighting a collection of research on how to promote and protect mental health and treat mental illness, which will also be published this week in the The Lancet medical journal.
“We can all help to build communities that understand, respect and prioritize mental wellness. We can all learn how to offer support to loved ones going through a difficult time. And we can all be a part of a new movement,” they write.