Lady Gaga telephoned — Facetimed, actually — Prince William this week to discuss the stigmas surrounding mental health issues and to talk about her battle living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Last year, Gaga released an open letter through her Born This Way Foundation in which she revealed she was living with PTSD, a condition often accompanied by depression, substance abuse or anxiety. “I read your open letter the other day, and I thought it was incredibly moving,” William tells the pop star over Facetime.
During their Facetime sesh, Gaga said the best thing that came out of living with PTSD was that she could share her experience with others. She admits that she was “very nervous at first” to open up about her mental health struggles because, in her words, “There’s a lot of shame attached to mental illness. You feel like something’s wrong with you.”
But Gaga explains that it’s not your fault if you were born this way, and that opening up about her own issues has been transformative. “You can’t help it if in the morning when you wake up you are so tired, you are so sad, you are so full of anxiety and the shakes that you can barely think,” says Gaga.
Prince William and Lady Gaga hope they can help motivate people to talk more freely about their mental illnesses and to start the conversations that pave the path to mental health. Prince William, who created the Heads Together campaign along with his wife Princess Catherine and brother Prince Harry, says, “It’s time that everyone speaks up and really feels very normal about mental health.”
William spoke up about his own struggle with anxiety earlier this year, while Harry admitted that losing his mother at a young age took a toll on his mental health. “Everybody has mental [illness]," says William, "and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it. Just having a conversation with a friend or family member can really make such a difference.”
Gaga and Prince William plan to continue their work together. The unlikely duo have a date in October of this year when Lady Gaga visits the U.K.