Lady Gaga uses her fame to de-stigmatize mental and physical health struggles, reminding her audience and fans to be kind toward others–and to themselves.

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known by her stage name Lady Gaga, shines as a beacon of acceptance through her music, acting, and other forms of self-expression. Some may have also heard of her efforts to address mental health in the US.

The Born This Way Foundation’s mental health advocacy

In 2012, Gaga became a mental health advocate as the co-founder of the Born This Way Foundation, with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. For their work, they received the Global Changemakers Award at Children Mending Hearts’ Empathy Rocks fundraiser in June 2018.

And on June 12, 2019, they partnered with the National Council on Mental Health, to double down on peer-to-peer mental health services, providing trainings to students at 28 schools around the country.

To this day, the foundation continues to initiate emotional conversations and to support those working to help others.

Gaga’s personal struggle

Back in 2016, Lady Gaga revealed that she had been enduring post-traumatic stress disorder after being raped at age 19. It had taken her several years to fully comprehend what had happened to her, and to recognize that she was experiencing a very real condition. In addition to this trauma, Gaga has also struggled with chronic pain, which carries its own emotional challenges.

Gaga’s experiences have helped her bring light to others’ struggles–for instance, those of homeless LGBT youth at the Ali Forney Center: “These children are not just homeless or in need; many of them are trauma survivors, they’ve been rejected in some type of way. My own trauma in my life has helped me to understand the trauma of others,” she told the Today Show.

Lady Gaga also penned an open letter in the past, revealing her PTSD on the Born This Way Website. She described how it feels to have a panic attack: “My body is in one place and my mind in another. It’s like the panic accelerator in my mind gets stuck and I am paralyzed with fear. When this happens, I can’t talk.”

Gaga demonstrates the simple but profound power of speaking about your personal challenges. If you just name what you’re going through, it can help both you and others feel so much less alone.

Kindness this way

Despite having such a difficult circumstances to confront, Gaga models hope and determination. She emphasizes gratitude towards her family, her team, and her fans who have stuck by her side as a support system.

Additionally, she reiterates the importance of sharing empathy and compassion towards those you meet. Anyone could be suffering.

“To me, almost every problem you can think of can be solved with kindness. At least it could be made better. Kindness has a soft undertone. Sometimes people think it is weak. It is tremendously powerful. It can change the way that we view each other, the way that we view our communities and the way that we work. Even the way that we feel about ourselves, by being kinder to ourselves. We need more kindness in the world.”

In a world full of negativity, we’re grateful that Lady Gaga inspires us to choose kindness.