Gaga’s Born Brave Bus sheds light on mental health issues teens face

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bornbraveBy Hana Kim and Kate Burgess

Q13 FOX News reporters

TACOMA — Tacoma pop superstar Lady Gaga came to Tacoma. And she brought more than her music.

The singer is tackling the topic of bullying on her “Born This Way Ball” world tour that kicked off in Tacoma Monday night. Along with her music, a Born Brave Bus accompanying the tour featured an interactive display with games, arts and crafts  intended to de-stigmatize mental health problems many young adults face.

The idea for this Born Brave Bus tour stems from Gaga’s Born this Way Foundation, a nonprofit organization meant to foster an “accepting” society, representatives with Gaga said.

Young adults can use the tour, and the touring bus, as a way to learn more about local resources on anti-bullying, suicide prevention and mental health services in the area.

A ticket was required to see Lady Gaga perform but you didn’t need one to benefit from her foundation.

“She has a really amazing message,” said fan Elizabeth Rutledge.

The singer known for her unconventional style and lyrics is now reaching youngsters beyond her  music.

Through her foundation, the pop singer provided a team of counselors and psychologists to speak with youngsters at her concert sites about emotional empowerment.

“We’ve had a couple of private conversations with the kids and gave them resources; I think it’s going to make a difference,” said school psychologist Hayley Thompson.

Rutledge, 15, is one of those teens who opened up about bullying in her school.

“It’s a huge problem and it’s not dealt with. I’ve experienced it at multiple schools,” said Rutledge.

Rutledge says counselors lifted her spirits and helped identify her strengths. Parents who initially came along for the music left with a better understanding of their children.

“It’s tough, it’s a different world than when we were kids there are more pressures,” said parent Patrick Rutledge.

Fans say Lady Gaga is more than music to them; she represents courage to be themselves.

“If you want change, change begins with you,” Lady Gaga said in a brief statement to fans before the concert.

For those who got to hear that voice up close, the experience was surreal.

“I said I loved her and she said, ‘Thank you so much.’ She said I looked fabulous, which I don’t, but I really appreciated it so much,” said fan Clayton Knott.

The singer’s foundation says 1 in 5 young people experiences a mental health issue their goal is to connect kids with local resources that will help them combat things like depression and bullying. The interactive event included lasted from 3 to 7 pm.

Susan Swearer, chair of the Born This Way Foundation’s Research Advisory Board, said one-in-five young people experience some type of mental health issue during adolescence. Swearer hopes the bus helps reach kids struggling with mental health problems.

“Being Brave is recognizing your strengths,” Swearer said. “It’s about recognizing your limitations or things that you need to work on, knowing where to get help, helping others, bravery really encompasses not only your own self development, but being brave in terms of helping others who may need some support.”

Omar Lopez drove hours from Eastern Washington to make it to the concert. He said Gaga’s acceptance, and drive to help others, is part of what makes her a great pop star.

“That’s why I’m a big fan of hers,” Lopez said. “You’re born this way. This is who you are. So why not be who you are?”

Organizations like the Trevor Project, Campus Pride and the National Association of School Psychologists are taking party in the event. For a list of where to find mental health services in Tacoma and the rest of the Puget Sound, head here.


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  • Frances Mazurek

    This bus is all bullshit. They are using it to lure fans in so they can get rid of unsold tickets. They were VERY RUDE to my daughter and when she refused their "free" tickets, they stuffed ten of then in her back pocket. I am no longer a fan.

  • Jan Delores

    Yes, they gave me 20 free tickets. I can't complain though. I gave the rest of them away on the streets. What happened? Why couldn't Gaga fill the venue? I thought she was popular.

  • guest

    OMG they gave you guys free tickets, thats so rude…. I paid $250 for mine. get it together, these tickets were given to you and your complaining

    • china

      yeah, because tranny caca is crap. who needs tickets for crap? and….ehm….who pays 250 bucks for that bullshit????? your fault!

    • Mooney

      What they are complaining about is that Gaga is hiding behind this cause and giving away free tickets to make her show look like everyone paid and its sold out when its clearly not. She is having trouble selling tickets because people see right through her

  • joe

    This chick's little act is getting old, I'm sick of her phony social politics as though I could give a crap what some rich liberal who is unwilling to give all their wealth away ever thinks.

  • Sandy

    Ok I went down to the bus yesterday out of curiosity and I went it. They were awful and yes I was also offered free tickets. I attempted to sell them but couldnt get rid of them so I went to the show, lots of empty seats and I had to leave early it was so amateur. SAD!! Cannot understand what people see in her

  • AP5

    LMAO @ y'all saying you received free tickets. I bet 95% of you aren't even from Seattle/Tacoma and are faking a sitation just to shade Gaga. Why so childish and stupid? You should ashamed of yourself.

    • RealityCheck

      You are calling other people a retard. Isn't your "Queen" against that kind of bullying and name calling?? Answer me in another 10 years and realize this fake isn't your savior.

      • Pearl

        Queen Gaga was the one trended the word "retard" when defending her music, so its now OK to use the word retarded, thanks Gaga for the positive impact in our societies and now i'm free to use the R word without being bullied. Paws up!

  • Jon

    I took my daughter to the bus because she is being bullied at school and I thought it might be a good thing since Gaga is so against bullying, we’ll let me tell you they spoke to her for about 2 minutes nothing that I have not told her already and then gave her free tickets to the show which we already had and that was all. I was a bit surprised that they were giving away tickets; I see it happened a lot. The show was pretty dreadful, I’ve seen much better and my daughter who is 11 and a fan is disappointed as well. She told me she doesn’t care to see her again.

    • nerdychick83

      I'm sorry you did not have a good experience, I hope the situation with your daughter gets better. I figured this brave bus was a bad idea from the standpoint of that these counselors really don't have enough time with these kids to really make any real difference. Real therapy is not a two minute fix and gaga needs to wake up and realize that.

      here is a link to an actual organizations who can help your daughter:

      boys and girls club also is a good source as well:

      ho;e these help.:-)

    • PEarl

      Queen Gaga therapy includes a revolutionary multi media experience called "Born this way Ball" so the tickets were a prescription in order to cure your daughters issues. You should be grateful mother monster is so concerned that she is giving free express therapy and free prescription drugs (after all she smokes weed on stage), the born brave bus will change the world, one little monster at a time! PAWS UP!

  • Ann

    I'm so glad people are seeing her for who she is. Not only did she copy many little know artist, to someone like Madonna and Marilyn Manson', to taking advantage of people's insecurities and issues in school to sell her brand. She was doing FINE before BTW and the "Mother Monster"/"Little Monster" cult thing she's doing. She was just an entertainer that people enjoyed, but now she's gone too far. She even lied about her back story and lied about every concert she had with The Born This Way Ball. Paws Down on tumblr, numerous ticket websites, and even FANS themselves who went to the show proven that she couldn't sell the majority of her tickets.

    Example: Let say most arenas hold up to 50,000 – 75,000, and she's been bragging "Waiting for 50,000 Little Monsters", but Paws Down pointed out that the reality of that was only 25,000 seats were taken, BUT nearly half of those 27,000 tickets are "Buy One Get One Free", or "Buy One Get Two – Four Tickets Free." This has been occurring all throughout Born This Way Ball. The constant lying about her tour is sad. Who is she convincing? She's lied to many fans and herself.

    If you thought the "Born Brave Bus" was bad, I'm guessing you didn't see her handing out McDonald's in South America with free tickets stapled to the bag. It just seems sad and wrong about what she's doing. She's convincing her fans and the media she's a caring person, which I'm pretty sure she is, but most of it's because it's to promote her lack of ticket sales.

    If this is too long to read, I'll just wrap it up in a nut shell.
    Lady Gaga is pretty much a fraud. She's the biggest fraud musician since Milli Vanilli.

  • Truzreview

    I'm a bit surprised to see all of this outrage about free tickets. I'm not personally a fan, but I like the message and I think it has little to do with how many tix she sells. I don't think there is anything wrong with giving away free tickets if they go unsold. It certainly is better than having empty seats. As for the bullying thing: It is real and at least she is trying to do something about it. Will it also help her ticket sales? Maybe so, maybe not. Apparently not. So I don't think it's about her being a fraud.

    She has an ability to reach many people at once and she's spreading an important message, a message that many of you have said you have also told your kids. So, what's so wrong with that?

    There are many other "musicians" who talk about guns, violence, drugs etc. I think she deserves more credit than is being represented here.

  • MArk

    Well, I wasn't there but I do know those who volunteered their time to help the kids took it very seriously and were trying to help. As for the free tickets, why would you complain, either it was a nice gesture or throw them away if you don't like her or care what she is trying to do. I believe the intent of reducing bullying in our schools is a good one, is that a crime? I don't think anyone forced you to go! Get a life, it's not like your tax dollars had to support her, or you had to go at all.

  • susan

    Yes, I went to the same concert as well, and ran into the same problems as everyone on here.
    They barely talked to me, and gave me a bunch of tickets….it was odd….

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