The "Born This Way singer" has been open about her own struggles with anxiety, depression, and PTSD, to let her fans know they're not alone.
2016 Samir Hussein
| Credit: Getty Images

In case you missed it, Lady Gaga put on an epic halftime show at the Super Bowl last night, performing a medley of some of her biggest hits and wowing the crowd with her acrobatic prowess. (Mindy Kaling described the spectacle as "4000 awesome gifs strung together.") But Lady Gaga's artistic talent isn't the only reason we love her. The charismatic singer has long been a powerful advocate for mental health. In 2012, she set up the Born This Way foundation (named after her anthem of self-acceptance) to empower young people to embrace and celebrate their differences. And over the years, she has repeatedly opened up about her personal experiences with mental health issues—including bulimia and anorexia, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder—to fight back against stigma. Below are nine such times Lady Gaga was our mental health hero.

On the importance of speaking out

“I openly admit to having battled depression and anxiety and I think a lot of people do. I think it’s better when we all say: ‘Cheers!’ And 'fess up to it.” —The Mirror, September 2016

On finding the light

"Depression doesn't take away your talents—it just makes them harder to find. But I always find it. I learned that my sadness never destroyed what was great about me. You just have to go back to that greatness, find that one little light that's left." Harpers Bazaar, February 2014

On supporting one another

"We are equal. We both walk our two feet on the same earth. And we’re in this together."—During a Today show segment about her visit with kids at the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youth in New York City, December 2016

On challenging assumptions

"Traditionally, many associate PTSD as a condition faced by brave men and women that serve countries all over the world. While this is true, I seek to raise awareness that this mental illness affects all kinds of people, including our youth. ... No one’s invisible pain should go unnoticed." —A letter on website of her Born This Way foundation, December 2016

For more stories about mental health, sign up for our Healthy Living newsletter

On what PTSD really feels like

"My body is in one place and my mind in another. It’s like the panic accelerator in my mind gets stuck and I am paralyzed with fear." —Her letter on the Born This Way site

On managing her anxiety

"I need my mantra to help keep me relaxed. 'You are brave. You are courageous.'" —During her visit with kids at the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youth, December 2016

On being true to yourself

"I started to say no. 'I'm not doing that.' 'I don't want to do that.' 'I'm not taking that picture, I'm not going to that event, I'm not standing by that because that's not what I stand for.' And slowly but surely, I remembered who I am. And then you go home, and you look in the mirror, and you're like, 'Yes. I can go to bed with you every night. Because that person, I know that person. That person has balls, that person has integrity, that person has an opinion. That person just doesn't say yes.'" —Emotion Revolution summit, October 2015

On learning to love yourself

"No matter how much success you have, no matter how many opportunities, fame, fortune, no matter how many accept you to your face, the person that really needs to accept you is you." —Emotion Revolution summit, October 2015

On becoming a fighter

"I’ve come a long way through a lot of heartache and pain, but none of it made me damaged goods. It made me a fighter." —Billboard, December 2015