Lady Gaga was proud to honour her mother on Sunday when she presented mom Cynthia Germanotta with the Future Award at the Children Mending Hearts Empathy Rocks fundraiser in Bel-Air.
The organization, which is committed to teaching children to have empathy for others through the arts, presented Germanotta with the Global Changemakers award for her work as co-founder of Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, with Gaga making the presentation, reports E! News.
“Kindness is not an afterthought to our work or just the way we’ve chosen to brand it,” Gaga told the audience about Born This Way. “It is the driving power behind everything that we do. It is the lens we view every challenge through and it is framing the way that we put everything around every possible solution. To me, almost every problem you can think of can be solved with kindness, or at least it could be made better.”
Gaga also spoke about the power of kindness in everyday life. “Kindness has a soft undertone. Sometimes people think it is weak. It is tremendously powerful,” she explained. “It can change the way that we view each other, the way that we view our communities and the way that we work. Even the way that we feel about ourselves by being kinder to ourselves. We need more kindness in the world.”
In addition, Gaga read a powerful note from her friend Breedlove, who opened up about her own issues with mental illness.
“I can’t remain silent any longer. The passing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain has made me want to speak up about my mental illness. I have been experiencing suicidal ideation and cyclical obsessive suicidal thoughts for the past four years,” wrote Breedlove in her letter, which Gaga read to the audience.
“At first, I thought I was alone and a bad person, but once I was brave enough to tell my friends and family — would they just think I was looking for attention? Would I be immediately hospitalized against my will? I was able to be honest with my psychiatrist?” the letter continued. “The honesty was met with genuine love and concern and loads of support from my mental health team. I began to meet others like me. I know I am lucky to have support like this, but there is so much help out there if you have the courage to be honest with yourself and others about what you are going through.”
The “Joanne” singer then got candid when addressing her own similar battles. “I have struggled for a long time, both being public and not public about my mental health issues or my mental illness. But, I truly believe that secrets keep you sick,” she explained. “I realize that it’s actually safer to say how I feel. What Children Mending Hearts is doing today rocks because it’s safer for others who feel like me.”
In concluding her speech, Lady Gaga emphasized how kindness and empathy can help combat the dark depression that has led so many to take their own lives.
“Thank you Mom for not being afraid of my darkest thoughts and for doing what many don’t realize goes very far: just holding my hand and running an organization that helps hold the hands of others and join the hands of others. I love you,” she told Germanotta. “Suicidal ideation feels like a spell and we have to have empathy. Be kind and help each other break that spell and live and thrive.”
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) all offer ways for getting help if you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues.