Lady Gaga has no problem living — and revealing — her truth.
While accepting a patron award at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s third annual Patron of the Artists Awards on Thursday night in Beverly Hills, the “A Star Is Born” actress called on Hollywood to provide better mental health care for people in the entertainment business.
In a nearly 25-minute speech, she detailed her own “mental health crisis” that prompted her to seek professional help after becoming overwhelmed by work commitments.
“I began to notice that I would stare off into space and blackout for seconds or minutes,” Gaga recalled. “I would see flashes of things I was tormented by, experiences that were filed away in my brain with ‘I’ll deal with you later’ for many years because my brain was protecting me, as science teaches us. These were also symptoms of disassociation and PTSD and I did not have a team that included mental health support.”
She explained that her struggles “later morphed into physical chronic pain, fibromyalgia, panic attacks, acute trauma responses, and debilitating mental spirals that have included suicidal ideation and masochistic behavior.”
Gaga, who has been open about being a survivor of sexual assault, suggested that SAG-AFTRA partner with her Born This Way Foundation to implement mental health programs for union members. She even said she would make an unspecified donation to launch the initiative.
“I wish there had been a system in place to protect and guide me, a system in place to empower me to say no to things I felt I had to do, a system in place to empower me to stay away from toxic work environments or working with people who were of seriously questionable character,” Gaga said. “There were days that I struggled or couldn’t make it to work and I don’t want that for other artists or anyone.”
She ended her remarks by declaring, “Let’s change the f—king world!”
Calling mental health issues a “crisis of epic proportions,” she said, “We need to bring mental health into the light. We need to hare our stories so that global mental health no longer resides and festers in the darkness.
“It is dangerous and we know this because amongst other shootings and acts of violence just last night there was a shooting in Thousand Oaks by a veteran who was believed to have suffered from untreated post-traumatic stress disorder, which is a mental health issue.”
Also honored during the night’s program were Harrison Ford, Spike Lee, and Jeffrey Katzenberg. The evening also included performances by Kristin Chenoweth, Dave Koz, Adam Lambert, Ledisi, and Arlissa.
The story originally appeared in Variety.