Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation Opens Mental Health Program

By David Konow 03/26/19

The program will help teens learn how to be a trustworthy friend that their peers can confide in.

Lady Gaga

Since launching in 2011, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation has been on a mission to educate the world on mental health, and encourage people to speak out and get help.

Now, the Born This Way Foundation is opening a mental health program at a number of high schools in the country.

As Las Vegas Now reports, the Born This Way program will launch in eight high schools this spring, including Valley High School in Vegas where students who participate will be trained in Mental Health First Aid.

Valley High School Principal Ramona Esparza says, “We are so grateful to have been chosen as one of the only eight pilot schools in the nation to introduce Teen Mental Health First Aid to our senior class. We teach and reach the ‘whole child,’ so social-emotional learning is essential to academic learning and growth for our students.”

Esparza added that Born This Way, along with the National Council for Behavioral Health, “have truly carved a new path for youth to know that there is not a stigma to seeking support and resources for mental health and wellness,” and that this program will be “a game-changer.”

Students who partake in the program will learn a five-step plan they can apply to friends who are struggling with their mental health and may need help. Five staff members of Valley High have been trained in Mental Health First Aid as well.

This program is being set up at Valley High School to coincide with Lady Gaga’s residency at Park MGM in Vegas. As Cynthia Germanotta, Gaga's mother, and president and co-founder of the Born This Way Foundation, explains, “Knowing how to spot the signs that someone in our lives is experiencing a mental health challenge and understanding how we can support that person is a basic life skill we all need to have—especially teenagers.”

Through this program, teens will learn how to be a trustworthy friend that peers in trouble can confide in.

Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, says, “Teens trust their friends, so they need to be trained to recognize signs of mental health or substance use problems in their peers.”

Another state where the foundation is setting up shop is Montana.

As Shani Rich, director of the North Central Montana Area Health Education Center, told KXLH, “Montana has one of the highest rates of suicide per capita in the U.S... So we have to start having this conversation.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

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.