Lady Gaga revealed Monday that she has post-traumatic stress disorder when she was visiting New York’s Ali Forney Center, a homeless shelter for LGBT young people.

Lady Gaga told Today that she shared with the youth in the shelter that she has PTSD for the first time in her life. The singer-songwriter confessed in December 2014 that she was raped when she was 19 years old.  The artist visited the Ali Forney Center in Harlem as part of her #ShareKindness Experience, an initiative launched by her Born This Way Foundation in partnership with Today and NBC Universal.

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Gaga exchanged stories with the center’s resident, donated clothing and also gave some gifts. She also performed for the young crowd.

Gaga told Today in a one-on-one interview that she had never told anyone about her PTSD before. She stated that doctors’ kindness, as well as her family and friends support, have saved her life. She told the show that she hoped sharing her trauma would empower teenagers to open up about their personal problems.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental disease that is not exclusive of veterans. PTSD is a shocking and dangerous condition that is suffered by some people after experiencing a traumatic event. The symptoms include feeling one’s life or others is in danger. PTSD affects people’s ability to function and can lead to other mental conditions such as alcoholism, drug addiction, insomnia, and suicide.

Gaga has also shared with the world that she struggles with other mental conditions. In October 2015, she told Billboard that she has suffered from depression and anxiety her entire life, saying she still deals with it every day.

“Meditation helps me to calm down. I don’t have the same kinds of issues that you have, but I have a mental illness, and I struggle with that mental illness every day. I need my mantra to help keep me relaxed. You are brave. You are courageous,” said Lady Gaga while leading a meditation circle, after sharing stories with people in the center.

People at the Ali Forney Center are members of the LGBT community, and most of them have been rejected by their families and friends

The artist shared on Twitter that having PTSD is one of her deepest secrets, adding that secrets keep people sick with shame. She also thanked those who share their stories, trauma and pain with her saying their kindness is contagious.

Many teens cried when they hugged Lady Gaga. They also shared with her they suffering. One of the teens said to the singer that her “Born This Way” album was the only thing he had when his family started to push him away.

Gaga said the youth in the Ali Forney Center are not only homeless or in need but trauma survivors. She stated they have been rejected and added that her own trauma has helped her to understand others problems.

The #ShareKindness activation invites people to be part of several activities including engaging in pledges to fight cyberbullying and donating to charitable organizations. The #ShareKindness promoted organizations such as Forney Center, Kids Food Basket, YMCA and Food Bank of South Jersey.

Source: USA Today