Lady Gaga Shares Important Mental Health Message With California Wildfire Evacuees
Wildfires in both Southern and Northern California have forced more than 250,000 people out of their homes — including Lady Gaga. After evacuating from her home in Malibu, the singer visited a Los Angeles-area Red Cross shelter on Tuesday, bringing pizza, coffee and an important mental health message.
“This is not easy. I know this is not easy. And I know that a lot of you are feeling a lot of pain right now, and a lot of shock, and this might feel very surreal,” she said in a video released by TMZ. “I know that I feel kind of in a daze, and I’m not really sure when or how this is going to hit me.”
The effects of the wildfires have been devastating. In the Malibu area, where Lady Gaga’s resides, 435 structures have been destroyed. The “Camp Fire,” which ravished entire communities in California’s Butte County, has taken 56 lives so far, making it the deadliest fire in California’s history.
Gaga wanted to remind evacuees to take care of their mental health during this time, and she encouraged those staying in the shelter to talk to each other about what they’ve experienced.
What I’d like to encourage you to do, even though it might be hard, is to share your stories and talk to each other during this time. There’s a wonderful mental health team here. You know, if you’re feeling sad, if you’re feeling afraid, if you’re feeling hopeless. If you’re feeling something you maybe don’t even understand, come to one of them and talk. And after this is over, this moment, and you move on to going home or not, if that happens, remember this moment right now, and let’s keep the faith together.
The mental health effects of natural disasters can not be understated. In Puerto Rico, the suicide rate spiked in the five months following the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also develop in the wake of a disaster, affecting people years after they’ve rebuilt their lives.
Gaga urged people in the shelter not to discount their mental health in the wake of this tragedy — and it’s a good reminder for anyone impacted by a life-changing event.
It is so important that you take care of what’s going on in your head and in your heart, because what you feel now is going to feel very different next week, and it’s going to feel different the week after that, and a month from that and maybe even a year… But you’re going to get through this, and we’re going to get through this together.
You can watch Lady Gaga’s full message below:
Image via Creative Commons/Christine Gervais