Lady Gaga’s Mother Discusses Singer’s Childhood Mental Health

By David Konow 10/31/19

"What I didn’t realize because I wasn’t prepared, was how to really deal with it. When I was growing up, times were different."

Lady Gaga wearing a mask during European concert tour
I encourage parents to be vulnerable © J0hnb0y |

With her incredible success, Lady Gaga has used her powerful platform to speak out about mental health with her Born This Way Foundation.

Now, her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, spoke with CBS This Morning about how parents can deal with children that are struggling with their mental health. 

Throughout her life, Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has struggled with depression, anxiety and PTSD.

“As a parent, I wasn’t prepared to really address this,” Cynthia explains. “Stefani was very unique, and that wasn’t always appreciated by her peers, and as a result, she went through a lot of difficult times – humiliated, taunted, isolated.”

My Generation Was Told To Suck It Up

Upon entering middle school, Germanotta saw her daughter go from “a very happy and aspirational young girl to somebody that started to question her self-worth, to have doubts about herself... What I didn’t realize because I wasn’t prepared, was how to really deal with it. When I was growing up, times were different. The way that we would deal with things was what we learned. I relied on the generational grit of just sucking it up and getting on with it.”

Once she saw her daughter clearly struggling, Cynthia says, “It’s very hard to know what to do. The profound impact that it can have (on families). It basically turns the focus of everything onto that one individual. Families feel conflicted about it, they don’t really understand it, it causes conflict, and a lot of stress within the families. It can also cause feelings of guilt and helplessness, not knowing how to help my daughter. What I’ve learned is that no family is immune to this.”

Parents: Listen To Your Children, Share Your Own Struggles

For families that are struggling with troubled teens, Germanotta recommended that parents simply listen.  

"What I learned from my daughter is to listen and validate her feelings. I think as parents our natural instinct is to go into problem-solving mode, when in fact they really just want us to take them seriously and understand what they’re saying.” 

While a lot of troubled youth don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents about their struggles out of “fear of being judged,” Germanotta adds that “as parents we don’t talk about our own struggles. I encourage parents to be vulnerable. Talk about your current or past struggles. The biggest thing is to talk to them.” 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.