Gaga, Ludacris and More Raise Awareness For World Mental Health Day

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Gaga, Ludacris and More Raise Awareness For World Mental Health Day

By Paul Fuhr 10/11/17

Musicians took to social media to raise awareness and erase the stigma surrounding mental health.

Image: 
Ludacris and Lady Gaga

Dozens of celebrities and musicians took to their social media accounts on Oct. 10 to raise awareness for World Mental Health Day. Across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, artists shared photos, messages and videos in support of the annual event.

All of the posts echoed the “sentiment that it’s okay to not be okay,” Billboard observed. Just one week after she hosted a live meditation session on Instagram in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, singer Lady Gaga announced that she was doing it again, inviting others to join her for a 20-minute moment to “meditate/sit quietly/pray or do any practice of your choosing.”

According to Gaga’s post, she said that her aim was to “remind us that the world is one body, and that we are all connected.” She also mentioned that “the calmer each of us are individually, the calmer the world will be.” 

Other musicians similarly called for the end of stigmas that surround mental illness, Billboard reported. For one, Paramore’s Hayley Williams shared a tweet from the band's account: “We're grateful for the opportunity to make music which serves as a very important release/escape from all sorts of issues of the mind...” 

The “Misery Business” singer is no stranger to speaking about mental health, either. Earlier this year, Williams revealed to Fader that in 2015, she took a break from Paramore due to her bouts with depression.

“For the first time in my life, there wasn’t a pinhole of light at the end of the tunnel," she told the magazine. “I thought, I just wish everything would stop. It wasn’t in the sense of, I’m going to take my life. It was just hopelessness. Like, 'What’s the point?' I don’t think I understood how dangerous hopelessness is. Everything hurts.” After some time with a therapist, Williams reconnected with her band to record the album After Laughter

Unfortunately, not every singer’s dark story has a silver lining. This past July, Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington killed himself while wrestling with addiction and depression.

For World Mental Health Day, Bennington’s widow Talinda tweeted that we need significant changes to our “mental health culture.” The tweet is as much a call to action as it is a stirring reminder of the toll mental health issues take on families and friends. One of Bennington’s friends told Rolling Stone that the singer had been dealing with an “hour-by-hour battle with addiction,” following some relapses with alcohol before his suicide.

Still, Bennington’s problems weren’t entirely private, as he was routinely candid about his struggles. “I have a hard time with life,” he once said. “Even when it’s good, I just am uncomfortable all the time. The opening line [of the Linkin Park track “Heavy”], ‘I don’t like my mind right now’—like, that is me 24 hours a day.” 

From Marina Diamandis (of Marina and the Diamonds) to “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, countless musicians showed their solidarity by adding the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay to their messages.

Rapper Ludacris even took the opportunity to point his Twitter and Instagram followers to sobering statistics about mental health in the U.S. (“Remember you are NOT alone,” he insisted.)

“In an increasingly digital world,” Diamandis said, “mental health is becoming an achievement, not a given.” In many ways, her tweet perfectly captures the drive behind World Mental Health Day, especially since World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show that more than 300 million people worldwide struggle with depression and anxiety.

In fact, mental health issues cost the global economy a staggering $1 trillion in lost productivity every single year, WHO added. By voicing their support for World Mental Health Day, musicians also manage to speak for those who are silently suffering.

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