Lady Gaga has been a staunch advocate for mental health and now she’s making her stance on the worldwide suicide epidemic clearer than ever.
As part of World Mental Health Day efforts, Gaga released an open letter Wednesday (Oct. 10) where she and World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that there’s an urgency in addressing anxiety and depression among the youth of the world.
“Suicide is the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address,” Gaga wrote in the note, which appeared in The Guardian.
More than 800,000 people will die by suicide this year according to the WHO and six will have taken their own lives before a reader finishes the letter.
“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,” Gaga added, saying that the youth “particularly vulnerable, with suicide being the second leading cause of death globally among 15-29 year olds and half of all mental illness beginning by the age of 14.”
She even pointed out that mental health initiatives receive less than one percent of global aid before addressing the issue of suicide prevention on a large scale begins with combating mental health issues at the smallest of levels.
“Despite the universality of the issue, we struggle to talk about it openly or to offer adequate care or resources,” she wrote. “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,” she added. “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.”