Lady Gaga has always used her platform to spread positivity and hope to those who may not have any. This past weekend was no exception, as Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta accepted the Global Changemakers Award at Children Mending Hearts’ Empathy Rocks fundraiser in Bel Air, California.
The mother-daughter duo stepped onstage to be recognized for their work with the Born This Way Foundation, an organization that works to “provide youth with genuine opportunities, quality resources and platforms to make their voices heard.”
Gaga took the moment as an opportunity to not only accept the award, but speak from the heart about mental illness, suicide and mental health in the wake of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s deaths earlier in the week. Gaga cites kindness as a way to get through to those who are struggling with mental illness, since they are more likely to voice their concerns and problems when met with compassion.
“I have struggled for a long time, both being public and not public about my mental health issues or my mental illness. But I truly believe that secrets keep you sick,” Gaga admitted, continuing to talk about the foundation. “We bring people together to have real, honest conversations and to be kind. Kindness is not an afterthought to our work. It is the driving power for everything we do. It is the lens we view every challenge through. It is framing the way we put everything around every possible solution. 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.”
Breedlove, a close friend of the songstress, recently was honest about his mental health struggle and suicidal thoughts online. Gaga used some of her time on the podium to read this post. “I can’t remain silent any longer. The passing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain has made me want to speak up about my mental illness,” she recited to the crowd. After being honest with those around him, the letter read: “I began to meet others like me. There is so much help out there if you have the courage to be honest with yourself and others about what you are going through.”
Gaga made sure to thank her mother Cynthia for being right by her side during all of her darkest days, saying, “Thank you, Mom, for not being afraid of my darkest thoughts and for doing what many don’t realize goes very far: just holding my hand and running an organization that helps hold the hands of others and join the hands of others. I love you. Suicidal ideation feels like a spell, and we have to have empathy. Be kind and help each other break the spell and live and thrive.”