'We can no longer afford to be silenced': Lady Gaga pens powerful essay about suicide prevention

'Stigma, fear and lack of understanding compound the suffering of those affected'

Sabrina Barr@fabsab5
Thursday 11 October 2018 16:20
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Lady Gaga has co-written a powerful essay alongside the director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) urging for society to place greater importance on the prevention of suicide.

In the essay, published in The Guardian this week, Lady Gaga and Tedros Adhanom, director general of WHO, stress that suicide should be addressed as “the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency.”

“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,” they write.

“Instead of treating those facing mental health conditions with the compassion we would offer to someone with a physical injury or illness, we ostracise, blame and condemn.”

In 2017, there were nearly 6,000 reported cases of suicide in the UK, with the rate of male suicide three times higher than that of female suicide, as stated by the Office for National Statistics.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, 90 per cent of suicides and suicide attempts are affiliated with an individual who has a psychiatric disorder of some kind.

Psychiatric disorders include conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders and schizophrenia.

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In the essay, Lady Gaga and Adhanom highlight that suicide is currently the second leading cause of death among young people aged between 15 and 29 years old around the world.

However, despite the high rates of suicide on a global scale, the essay says there’s a severe lack of discussion on the issue.

“Mental health currently receives less than one per cent of global aid. Domestic financing on prevention, promotion and treatment is similarly low,” they write.

“At present, every nation in the world is a ‘developing’ country when it comes to mental health.”

This week, the second Global Summit on Mental Health Culture Change is taking place in London in an effort to raise more awareness of mental health issues and to take action to combat them.

According to Lady Gaga and Adhanom, ensuring that those suffering from mental illness do not feel ashamed is vital.

“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,” they write.

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In 2011, Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta founded the Born This Way Foundation, a non-profit organisation.

The aim of the foundation is to provide young people with support in all areas of their lives, including mental wellness.

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