On the heels of President Donald Trump’s announcement that trans people are forbidden from serving in the military, Lady Gaga offered her support to that community–and to all young adults who feel marginalized–via tweets and data. The tweets specifically chastised the president for singling out the trans community. The data specifically came from her Born This Way Foundation, which surveyed 3,000 teens, young adults and their parents and found that largely, mental wellness is majorly impacted by a person’s proximity to kindness and people who behave kindly - including in the workplace.
Negatively singling out a community could put them in a vulnerable position, Gaga posited via Twitter. But at the same time, her foundation is hoping that by continuing to release research on mental wellness issues, they can raise awareness about how young people and their parents access and deal with mental health.
“We have a generation now in which there are no boundaries,” says Maya Enista Smith, executive director of the Born This Way Foundation. “Seventy percent of young people are reporting being the victims (of online harassment.) We have this moment in time, we have this opportunity to tie a lot of the problems that we’re facing with aspirational solutions in the form of kindness. There’s this moment that’s coming together right now.”
The foundation has a long history of pushing for kindness. In January it teamed with the TODAY Show to spread the word of the network's #sharekindness campaign. The foundation also paired with several American cities and the Dalai Lama to create the City of Kindness challenge. Gaga personally has often discussed her battle with PTSD and her focus on her own mental health while also advocating for sexual assault survivors. In the midst of this, it seems that the benefits of kindness are something the researchers (in this case the survey was managed by the Benenson Strategy Group) can quantify.
The research from the "Kind Communities – A Bridge to Youth Mental Wellness” study shows that young people–from high school to college to the youngest in the workplace–who describe their environment as kind are more likely to be mentally healthy. Some 79% of students who said their high school has a kind environment were also the kids with the highest mental health inventory scores on the survey. Conversely, just 12% of those with low mental health scores said their school was kind.