Lady Gaga's Mom Offers Advice To Families Dealing With Mental Health Issues

By David Konow 10/16/17

Cynthia Germanotta shared a few mental health tips for active communication in a recent interview. 

Cynthia Germanotta

Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta have been speaking out to help families deal with mental health issues at home—with the key being keeping the lines of communication open.

A study conducted by the pop star's Born This Way Foundation revealed that parents often don’t realize that children are reluctant to talk about their problems. Gaga's mother told Refinery29 that mental health should be talked about openly in the home, and it’s something she wishes she practiced more herself.

“I listened to my children, but I really didn’t understand where they were coming from,” Germanotta says. “It’s one thing to listen. It’s another to really understand what your child is saying to you … Although we addressed mental health issues, I can’t say that we talked about it beforehand.”

Many are working hard to reduce the stigma of mental health that scares many people from speaking out.

Germanotta continued, “Nobody’s immune from bad things happening in their family.” She stressed the importance of “leaving an open door” for your family, and added that a mental health discussion doesn’t always have to be “a really deep conversation.” Sometimes just making time to have fun with your family, “something as simple as going bowling together or going to a movie can be a stress reliever.” 

Germanotta has been actively speaking out about mental health to the media, even taking the Born This Way Foundation on tour with her daughter and bringing “Mental Health First Aid” training to people who want to become counselors. 

As Germanotta told Mashable in August, “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. 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.”

Germanotta says that “mental health is a huge challenge for the world,” and with her superstar daughter Lady Gaga recently talking about her struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), she added that, “Through that experience, she wants to help other young people be much better equipped to deal with that than she thought we were.”

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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.