Lady Gaga bravely brings depression into the light

It’s not all pretty and pleasant.

She has long been clear about who she is on the outside, a powerful presence who always shows a unique style, whether it’s with barely-there costumes or no-makeup selfies.

Now Lady Gaga is opening up about what’s inside her — and it’s not all pretty and pleasant. The singer revealed last week that she has battled depression and anxiety “my entire life.”

Gaga’s words came on the heels of comedian Sarah Silverman’s announcement that she, too, suffered from depression. And this month, Nashville star Hayden Panettiere checked herself into a facility to get help with postpartum depression, which she also discussed publicly.

The public faces and voices on what are often unseen, privately fought battles bring new and welcome attention to depression and related illnesses.

Gaga specifically focused her attention on kids and teens, saying many feel particularly isolated and sad in a culture in which they are connected more with their phones than with other people. “These kids just want to feel human, but they feel like robots,” she said. “They don’t understand why they’re so sad.”

Hopefully, Gaga’s honest tale will encourage her wide array of fans to take notice, look up from their tablets and phones, and talk with each other. To connect.

That’d be a good first step.

And as well-regarded celebrities like Gaga, Silverman, and Panettiere reveal their darker, more difficult truths, it might lead to even more important steps. Perhaps the stigma that so often greets illnesses like depression will slip away. Perhaps the stars will encourage children, teens, and adults alike to be more willing to reveal and talk about their troubles. And perhaps those who need it will start to search out and get help.

But most important, the singer, comedian and actress just might encourage all of us to remember that depression, anxiety and other mental and emotional illnesses can affect anyone. If we’re all a bit more understanding, perhaps we’ll be ready to reach out and help when those around us are ready to ask.

The Editorial Board