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Lady Gaga Reveals She Has PTSD: 'I Suffer From A Mental Illness'

12/06/2016 09:07 EST | Updated 12/06/2016 09:07 EST

Pop icon Lady Gaga has revealed an ongoing battle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), part of the emotional fallout from having been raped as a teenager.

The singer-songwriter made the revelation during a television interview on Monday at a New York homeless shelter for gay and lesbian (LGBT) youth.

"I told the kids today that I suffer from a mental illness — I suffer from PTSD," said Gaga, speaking to NBC television's "Today Show" program.

lady gaga Lady Gaga attends the British Fashion Awards 2016 on December 5, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)

Two years earlier, the singer revealed on television she had been raped at age 19, an experience that left her traumatized.

A gay icon who has long championed the rights of sexual minorities, Gaga, now 30, urged the youths at the Ali Forney Center shelter to find the courage to face their problems.

"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," she said.

"I need my mantra to help keep me relaxed. You are brave. You are courageous."

The visit marked the first time the "Born This Way" singer has spoken of having PTSD, although in the past she has revealed battling depression and anxiety.

On Twitter, Lady Gaga thanked the shelter residents for "sharing your stories, trauma & pain," and added: "Today I shared one my deepest secrets w/ the world. Secrets keep you sick w/ shame."

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