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Lady Gaga has penned a powerful essay on mental health awareness

Posted on June 21, 2017
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Lady Gaga has penned a powerful essay on mental health awareness

Lady Gaga has become the latest musical act to lend their support to mental health awareness, penning an emotional essay earlier today.

Wednesday, October 10th marked the 2018 edition of World Mental Health Day. Back for its 26th year, the idea behind the day is to help ignite discussion about mental health, and aiming to remove the stigma that the very mention of the word conjures up.

While numerous artists such as James Blake and Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos have weighed in on the topic before, Lady Gaga has now become the latest – and most prominent name – to do so.

Appearing in The Guardian alongside the World Health Organisation’s Dr Tedros Adhanom, the open letter begins with a shocking statistic; “By the time you finish reading this, at least six people will have killed themselves around the world.”

“Those six are a tiny fraction of the 800,000 people who will kill themselves this year – more than the population of Washington DC, Oslo or Cape Town,” the pair wrote. “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.”

“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.”

“Despite the universality of the issue, we struggle to talk about it openly or to offer adequate care or resources,” the letter continues. “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.”

“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.”

Read the entirety of the open letter here.

The letter from Lady Gaga and Dr Tedros Adhanom comes just a matter of days after Tom Morello released ‘Every Step That I Take’, the latest track released by the Rage Against The Machine guitarist’s Atlas Underground project.

Having teamed up with Portugal. The Man and Whethan, the track is a tribute of sorts to late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, and aims to help remove the stigma of mental health issues.

“With the passing of Chris [Cornell] over a year ago, and the momentum towards removing the stigma from mental health issues and suicidal thoughts, it was very important to have a song from that point of view.”

“I’ve had mental illness issues in my family and among my friends in the past, and there’s a current trend toward this demystification to encourage people, among your friends, loved ones and professionals, there is help and there are ways,” he continued.

“You know, you break your arm — it’s not a stigma to go to the hospital to get it set. Hopefully we’re able to start looking at suicidal thoughts and depression in the same way that can materially save lives.”

”Every Step That I Take’ is about how the dreams, and depression, and love and the lack of it on the emotional steps of the gallows are processed.”

If you or somebody you care for needs help or information about depression, suicide, anxiety, or mental health issues, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Check out the Atlas Underground’s ‘Every Step That I Take’: