Lady Gaga, Prince William Share Mental Health Conversation
The British royals enlisted Lady Gaga to join their mental health awareness campaign—drawing from the pop star’s own struggles with mental health.
In a new video, Prince William is shown FaceTiming with Lady Gaga from her home in California. The two chat about the importance of caring for one’s mental health, and how talking about it can break down the stigmas and shame of struggling with psychological issues.
“There’s shame attached to mental illness. You feel like something’s wrong with you,” said Gaga.
“It’s okay to have this conversation. It’s really important to have this conversation,” said Prince William. “It’s so important to break open that fear and that taboo [or else it will] only lead to more problems down the line.”
William, Duchess Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry have made mental health a priority with their Heads Together campaign. Their goal is to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage those who are struggling to speak up.
In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Prince Harry revealed that he had “shut down all of my emotions” for nearly 20 years after losing his mother, Princess Diana, at the age of 12. He finally sought counseling after two years of “total chaos” in his twenties. He’d spent two decades pushing down any thoughts of his beloved mother.
Now, with the proper support and some boxing to get out his aggression, Harry says he’s on the path to recovery.
Gaga also admitted to her own struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain—the result of being overworked as a performer while neglecting her mental and physical health.
“I was overworked and not taken seriously when I shared my pain and concern that something was wrong,” Gaga wrote in an open letter posted to the website of her Born This Way foundation last December. “The experience of performing night after night in mental and physical pain ingrained in me a trauma that I relive when I see or hear things that remind me of those days.”
She told William that it was gratifying to be able to open up to her fans without shame. “Even though it was hard, it was the best thing that could come out of my mental illness—to share it with other people and let our generation, as well as other generations, know that if you are feeling not well in your mind, you’re not alone,” she said. “And people that you think would never have a problem, do.”
Gaga now follows a treatment of psychotherapy and prescribed medication, but says the “most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words.”
She continued in her letter, “Kind words…positive words…words that help people who feel ashamed of an invisible illness to overcome their shame and feel free. This is how I and we can begin to heal. Secrets keep you sick. And I don’t want to keep this secret anymore.”