Lady Gaga Trains Thousands in MHFA

 In Mental Health, MHFA, Popular Culture

During her Joanne World tour, commencing August 2017, global popstar Lady Gaga collaborated with the National Council for Behavioral Health. Together, they provided mental health first aid training to thousands of participants across North America and Canada.

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation

The initiative was partly organised by the Born This Way Foundation, which launched in 2012. Stefani Germanotta (otherwise known as Lady Gaga) and her mother Cynthia Germanotta founded the organisation with the goal of creating a kinder and braver world. The organisation is dedicated to aiding young people with mental health concerns by providing resources, opportunities and a platform to voice their concerns and ideas.

The Born this Way Foundation is supported by a research advisory board and a youth advisory board, who provide professional input and a diverse range of voices. In addition to spreading awareness about mental health concerns, the foundation also provides crisis aid, such as rebuilding after natural disasters such as Hurricaine Harvey.

The Joanne World Tour and Mental Health First Aid

At every stop on her tour, Lady Gaga and the Born This Way Foundation helped to deliver MHFA trainings to 150,000 people. The trainings were provided by the American Mental Health First Aid Organisation and Mental Health First Aid Canada. “Mental Health First Aid is a powerful tool to help demystify mental health and break down barriers to treatment,” said co-founder Cynthia Germanotta.

One participant of the MHFA program, Gina Ehlert, discussed her experiences and motivation to become a MHFAider on the Born This Way blog. She describes how shortly after her training, a young man in her life was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Ehlert says that her training in MHFA

…helped me to recognize signs and symptoms of his mental health problems and gave me the confidence to encourage him and his parents to seek early intervention from an early psychosis treatment program.

With the early intervention provided by MHFA, the young man was able to recover after 5 years of treatment, and is looking forward to a bright future. The MHFA training is providing valuable resources and support to thousands of trainers and people experiencing mental health concerns across the world.

Inspired by Lady Gaga’s own mental health experiences

In a touching personal letter on The Born This Way Foundation’s blog, Lady Gaga revealed that she too has struggled with mental health concerns. Having suffered from PTSD following the Born This Way tour where her emotional and physical needs were ignored and neglected, Germanotta speaks out about the need for awareness. Her experiences with chronic pain and the psychological effects are little known, and the symptoms of PTSD are often associated with service men and women. Germanotta writes that awareness is important for all people affected by PTSD, and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. Lady Gaga writes that:

I believe that the most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words. Kind words, positive words … words that help people who feel ashamed of an invisible illness to overcome their shame and feel free.

Be the Difference today

Like the thousands of individuals trained in Mental Health First Aid, you too can #BeTheDifference and become a MHFAider as well. Find out more about the MHFA programs offered by Hero Town and choose the one that suits you today.

Steph Downing
Stephanie Downing is the administrative assistant for Hero Town Geelong. Born and raised in Geelong, Australia, Stephanie is a graduate of Deakin University with her Honours degree in Professional and Creative Writing. She adores words of all sorts and is especially infatuated with the medium of poetry and fiction, with publications of her work being featured in magazines such as WORDLY Magazine, Plumwood Mountain Journal and Cordite Poetry Review.
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