Lady Gaga made a stunning admission about her mental health during a visit to a homeless shelter for LGBT youth in Harlem.
Gaga, who revealed in 2014 that she had been raped at age 19, led a brief meditation exercise during her visit. "I don't have the same kind of issues that you have," she said, "but I have a mental illness and I struggle with that every day so I need my mantra to help keep me relaxed."
Until her visit, Gaga had never spoken publicly about living with post traumatic stress disorder. "I told the kids today that I suffer from a mental illness. I suffer from PTSD. I've never told anyone that before, so here we are," the 30-year-old singer revealed. "But the kindness that's been shown to me by doctors--as well as my family and my friends--it's really saved my life."
Gaga made the visit on behalf of the #ShareKindness campaign, "Today" and NBCUniversal's celebration of kind acts both big and small.
"Kindness, to me, is an action of love or a showing of love to someone else," the pop singer said. "I also believe that kindness is the cure to violence and hatred around the world. I like to share kindness in a lot of different ways."
"I love to give things to people that have nothing or less than me. These children are not just homeless or in need. Many of them are trauma survivors; they've been rejected in some kind of way," she said. "My own trauma in my life has helped me to understand the trauma of others."
Gaga didn't tell anyone she had been raped for seven years. In hindsight, the singer admitted, "I'd been searching for ways to heal myself. I found that kindness is the best way. The one way to help people that have trauma is to inject them with as many positive thoughts as possible."
"Today" partnered with Gaga's "Born This Way Foundation," which she co-founded with her mom, Cynthia Germanotta, for the Share Kindness Experience, located at 30 Rock in New York City. For those outside of the city, using the hashtag #ShareKindness on Twitter and Instagram, and sharing or commenting on a kind story from "Today's" Facebook, will also contribute to the goal.
"Those of us that have should give to those who have not during the holidays. Do one kind act before the end of the year. Just be kind," Gaga said. "The act itself, it's free--and it's priceless."
(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)