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Lady Gaga Pens Powerful Op-Ed on Suicide and Mental Health Awareness

In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week, Lady Gaga is doing her part to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health issues and suicide. TheA Star Is Bornactress, along with World Health Organization’s director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, have penned a powerful new op-ed forThe Guardianand what they have to say is truly important.

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“By the time you finish reading this, at least six people will have killed themselves around the world,” the duo begin the powerful letter aptly titled “800,00 people kill themselves every year. What can we do?”

Suicide is a global epidemic

“Suicide is the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address,” they continue. They maintain that the “stigma, fear and lack of understanding” surrounding mental health conditions worsen the suffering of those impacted and prevent proper actions to be taken about the epidemic.

They also point to staggering statistics about mental health and suicide, including that one in every four people will have to deal with a mental health condition, such as depression and anxiety, in their life.

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Even more troubling is that young people are at a greater risk. Suicide is the second leading cause of death globally among 15 to 29-year-olds and half of all mental illness begin by the age of 14, they note, according to the World Health Organization.

“Yet despite the universality of the issue, we struggle to talk about it openly or to offer adequate care or resources. Within families and communities, we often remain silenced by a shame that tells us that those with mental illness are somehow less worthy or at fault for their own suffering,” they passionately write. Instead of properly treating those with mental health conditions, “we ostracize, blame and condemn” them.

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How to offer support to those suffering

While a lack of mental health funding continues to be a problem globally, the two also emphasize that one of the key components in tackling the mental health crisis can be executed on the individual and community level. “We can all help to build communities that understand, respect and prioritize mental wellness,” they write. “We can all learn how to offer support to loved ones going through a difficult time.”

That’s why learning how to spot the warning signs of suicide—like withdrawing from friends and family, substance abuse, uncontrolled rage, sleeping all the time, mood swings, and more—is so crucial. While signs can vary depending on the person, there is a common theme, according to Christine Moutier, MD, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“We can all learn how to offer support to loved ones going through a difficult time.”

“Look for changes in pattern,” she previously toldPrevention. “People can only keep things hidden to a certain extent. If you think about it, our behavior patterns are in a pretty tight and narrow range. Your radar will go off if someone you know is acting differently, because you know their patterns.”

If you believe someone is at risk, you should take action by letting them know you care and encourage them to seek treatment from a doctor or therapist. “Even if your instincts are to avoid the person because you’re afraid you don’t know enough or that you might offend the person, you may be the only one who is noticing and who will reach out,” says Dr. Moutier. “Everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide.”

With that, the op-ed hammers home the most crucial point of all: You are never alone and those around you want to help.





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Date: 05.12.2018, 03:40 / Views: 52475