The A Star Is Born actor continues to show that it's OK to not be OK. Lady Gaga is supporting teens' mental health in another major way. On Monday, the singer, her Born This Way Foundation, and the National Council for Behavioral Health announced they're expanding teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) to 20 more high schools across the country in fall 2019. The program "empowers young people to support each other in times of need or crisis."
In a press release sent to Bustle, Gaga commented on the program:
"Together, Born This Way and the National Council have put this program in eight schools and soon it will be in 20 more. I know for certain that I'm not stopping here. I want the teen Mental Health First Aid program in every school in this country."
As described in the press release, tMHFA is a type of "in-person training for high school students in grades 10 to 12 to learn about mental illnesses, including how to identify and respond to a developing mental health or substance use problem among their peers." The training offers students a five-step action plan in order to teach them how to help others who may be dealing with mental health issues, along with the best way to involve a responsible and trusted adult.
There was also a video released by the Born This Way Foundation of Gaga and her mom, Cynthia Germanotta (she cofounded the foundation), meeting students who are part of the tMHFA program. She even brought 16 students onstage during one of her Las Vegas concerts who had all just completed the first tMHFA pilot, which you can watch below.
Gaga states in the video,
"Sometimes when life gives you a million reasons not to want to stay you need just one person that looks at you, listens to you, helps you get help, and validates how you feel."
Mental health has been a topic Gaga has repeatedly discussed and also from a personal standpoint. Her hope is to one day eliminate the stigma that comes with mental health. Gaga's song "Million Reasons" is even about her battle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, during her acceptance speech at the 2019 Grammys, Gaga opened up about the importance of supporting one another through mental health.
After winning Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Shallow" with Bradley Cooper, Gaga powerfully said,
"If I don't get another chance to say this, I just want to say I'm so proud to be a part of a movie that address mental health issues. They're so important. And a lot of artists ... a lot of artists deal with that. And we gotta take care of each other. So, if you see somebody that's hurting, don't look away. And if you're hurting, even though it might be hard, try to find that bravery within yourself to dive deep and go tell somebody ... and take them up in your head with you."
Gaga is a huge figure not only in the entertainment industry, but in the lives of her fans. She inspires many on a daily basis. With the Academy Award winner constantly addressing mental health publicly, she's helping de-stigmatize the issue. Her continue fight for those who deal with mental health problems daily, like teenagers, is making a massive impact — and for the better. Her bravery and openness might even save lives in the process.
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.