American singer, songwriter and actress Lady Gaga has always been outspoken about her own challenges with mental health.
She and the fashion and lifestyle brand, Cotton On, have now joined hands to raise $5 million (about R95 million) for global mental health with R2.5 million to be donated to South Africa.
The collaboration between Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Bissett Germanotta’s Born This Way Foundation and the Cotton On Foundation consists of the design of a limited collection of fashion and lifestyle items, including caps, T-shirts, bags, stationery and a denim jacket.
These items will be available both online and in select stores until October 10, with all net proceeds being donated to the Born This Way Foundation.
The singer dedicated the foundation to improving mental health resources for youth and promoting a more compassionate and courageous world for young people.
“We are honored to partner with the Cotton On Foundation as our first global campaign that reinforces our mission to build a kinder, braver world together,” said Lady Gaga.
The singer has spoken candidly about her own struggles with mental health. Lady Gaga’s personal experience with sexual assault, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain makes her a person with whom many individuals can identify.
She spoke to talk show queen Oprah about her battle with fibromyalgia and how her mental health plays a central role in her general well-being.
Her traumatic experience of repeated rape at the age of 19 led to the development of PTSD. At that stage, she did not receive professional support or therapy to process the trauma, and a meteoric journey to fame further complicated her healing process.
Lady Gaga has emphasized the importance of medication in managing her mental health. She acknowledged the controversy surrounding this topic, as stigma still surrounds the use of medication for mental health issues.
Her willingness to openly discuss her dependence on mental health medication highlights the need to reduce this stigma.
“Medication helped me tremendously. I take an antipsychotic and I would have fallen into a downward spiral very often if I hadn’t used it.
“I know many people are afraid of medication, but I want to help address the stigma surrounding it, because mental health is a crisis.
“Cotton On’s aim is to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Our foundation began with a commitment to help 10 million people access mental health services. The Born This Way Foundation is an organization that shares our values, and is an important partner in making this goal a reality,” said Peter Johnson, CEO of Cotton On.
Besides the products, the collaboration will also support the Born This Way Foundation’s initiatives, including the Be There certificate. This is a free online course created in partnership with Jack.org, which enables participants to support their peer group facing mental health challenges.
South Africans can nominate a local mental health organization to receive some of the funding the two foundations aim to raise.
Additional resources: Hello Magazine, Insider.com