Lady Gaga Brings Mental Health First-Aid Training On Tour

By Britni de la Cretaz 08/21/17

The eight-hour course trains people to identify and respond to signs of mental health and substance use struggles.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, want fans to be better prepared to help friends and family members who might be struggling with mental health issues. That’s why Germanotta’s Born This Way Foundation has partnered with the National Council for Behavioral Health to bring Mental Health First Aid trainings to every American city on Gaga’s Joanne tour.

The trainings consist of an eight-hour-long course that gives people the tools to help someone who may have mental health challenges or substance use problems. It doesn’t turn people into crisis counselors, but it does help them identify and respond to signs of mental health struggles. The goal is to train 150,000 people by the end of the year.

Mashable reports that over 1 million people have been trained in Mental Health First Aid since 2008.

"To us, [the training] is so vitally important because there's still a very large stigma around mental health, and around talking about it and providing help for people who are experiencing a mental health crisis," Cynthia Germanotta told Mashable. "It's really been invaluable because there's just a comfort level knowing that if you see someone in crisis, you can have a conversation with them and hopefully determine how severe it is." 

Earlier this year, the Born This Way Foundation released its Kind Communities report about factors that influence mental wellness in young people. They surveyed over 3,000 young people between 15 and 24, and over 1,000 parents. The findings showed that having supportive friends, community support, and access to resources were indispensable for the mental well-being of young people. The report also found that young people need better access to resources that will help them take care of their mental health. 

This makes trainings like Mental Health First Aid even more important, because it could give people the tools they need to encourage a friend to seek help without having to ask an adult or authority figure if they don’t feel comfortable doing so.

Germanotta told Mashable that her daughter was bullied in middle school, which is why this work is so important to them. Lady Gaga has been candid about her own mental health challenges, including her PTSD diagnosis.

"Through that experience, she wants to help other young people be much better equipped to deal with that than she thought we were,” Germanotta said.

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.