Pop singer Lady Gaga may be known for her eccentric outfits and devil-may-care attitude, but she is also becoming known for her advocacy against childhood bullying and support to empower today’s youth when it comes to body image.
The singer’s Born This Way Foundation is a testament to Lady Gaga’s own struggles as a young adult, and in previous months she spoke candidly with her fans about struggling with eating disorders and being the victim of bullying.
In her most recent effort to help the nation’s teens, Lady Gaga has announced she is now offering mental health counseling services while she is on tour, reports WTNH, bringing mental health professionals along with her as she travels across North America on her BornBrave tour bus. Fans are welcome to approach the bus and meet privately with counselors.
“[I]t will be a fun tailgating experience for monsters to unite,” Lady Gaga said on her Facebook page. “At the BornBrave Bus you have access to professional private or group chats about mental health, depression, bullying, school & friends. There will also be food and games, DJ White Shadow and Lady Starlight will DJ with host BREEDLOVE to keep the experience fun.”
Lady Gaga adds the BornBrave Bus is a place where free help will be available to all in an environment without judgment, and where mental health and depression are taken seriously. The goal, she states, is to break the stigmas surrounding mental health conversations and to take the embarrassment out of seeking counseling.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Gaga’s tour began on January 11 in Vancouver, Canada, and will end in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 20.
While Lady Gaga’s goal of providing free mental health care while on tour is admirable, some experts question the quality of such a service. Carl Wilson, a local psychotherapist from St. Louis, Missouri, told KSDK there is a real need for follow-up care if someone truly needs mental assistance.
Mental health care often involves more than one session and comprehensive background information is recommended to better assist the patient. However, even one counseling session, in the form of a support group—as Lady Gaga has suggested the interventions will resemble—might help someone battling issues like bullying, sadness or interpersonal conflicts.
“The best mental health counseling services are those which seek not only to help clients work through the most pressing of current concerns, but which also provide long-term support or resources for receiving other types of potentially beneficial treatment,” reads the Good Therapy Org. website.
Although it is not clear the extent of Lady Gaga’s help in providing mental health professionals to her fans, it is likely the support won’t be limited to a short visit on a tour bus.
In the meantime, Wilson states he is all for Gaga’s mission and message, but he hopes it is a genuine attempt at public assistance and not a publicity stunt.