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Lady Gaga Shares a Strong Suicide Call-to-Action

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On Tuesday, The Guardian published an opinion piece by a seemingly unlikely duo: pop star and actor Lady Gaga and Tedros Adhanom, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Gaga is often outspoken about mental health, sharing her own personal experiences with trauma, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Adhanom has served as the Director General of WHO since May 2017 — and was Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2016.

Together, they wrote a piece about suicide, describing it as “the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address.” They argue bold action needs to be taken in order to reduce the global suicide rates — both by making resources more accessible and ensuring those resources are effective and compassionate.

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

Instead of treating those facing mental health conditions with the compassion we would offer to someone with a physical injury or illness, we ostracize, blame and condemn. In too many places support services are non-existent and those with treatable conditions are criminalized – literally chained up in inhumane conditions, cut off from the rest of society without hope.

They cited that mental health currently receives less than one percent of global aid, claiming that “every nation in the world is a ‘developing’ country when it comes to mental health.”

In a piece about where the mental health system fails those who are suicidal, The Mighty explored how we can better help people who are struggling. You can read our feature here.

To read the full op-ed from Gaga and Adhanom, head here.

Image via Creative Commons/Curt Fletcher

Originally published: October 11, 2018
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