Mental Health Awareness Month: 5 female artists who have spoken out
It’s time to check in with yourself. How are you feeling?
Mental health has been a taboo since forever, but brushing it under the carpet does not help anyone. According to MIND, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience mental health problems in one given year with only 1 in 8 getting treatment.
Many creatives are drawn to the arts as a form of release and therapy for their mental health issues, it comes as no surprise that in a study conducted by Help Musicians UK they found that 69% of people working in the music industry had experienced depression and 71% have experienced high levels of anxiety.
Being frank and honest about mental health problems helps to break the taboo. These wonderful women are a small selection of people that inspire us by their openness and their ability to not let their mental health problems define them.
Pop super star, Ariana Grande was involved in a tragic terrorist attack in 2017. Her gig at Manchester Arena was targeted by a suicide bomber which resulted in mass injuries and fatalities. Since then she has suffered from PTSD and talks openly about the horrific incident that took place in 2017. Ariana has shown pictures of her brain scans, showing the effects of PTSD on the brain, to help her PTSD she also has regular therapy. She continues to dominate globally with her soaring vocals. A true pop icon.
Front woman of alt-rock turned indie-pop band, Paramore, Hayley has never shied away from talking about her mental health problems. If you have listened to any of Paramore’s material, or Hayley Williams solo album you will notice that most of her music talks openly about her struggle with mental health, referencing suicide and how she struggled with depression and anxiety. Hayley advocates therapy as a way to help to understand and grow from her experiences and to be able to let go of the things controlling her. She has had many eye-opening interviews with Zane Lowe where she mentions her healing process and how she has been writing music.
Queen of empowering women and body positivity, Lizzo also has voiced her own struggles with depression. She has admitted that after releasing Truth Hurts in 2017, she was ready to quit music due to her mental health being bad, not feeling that she mattered. She also has talked about her struggles with body dysmorphia too. Having been criticised in the media about her body when she is just trying to write music and live her life. Lizzo’s music should be your go-to if you want to feel like a bad bitch first thing in the morning. We love seeing people be confident in their own skin AND write huge bops.
Post-natal depression doesn’t get the publicity and support that it should. 1 in 10 women will experience postpartum depression. It is an issue that has continued to be swept under the rug and there are still damaging and archaic views around women going back to work. Adele is one of the biggest pop superstars in the world and has used her platform to encourage other women to talk about their experiences with post-natal depression. She is proof that you can have mental health problems, children and have a successful career.
Billie is a huge inspiration to women and young girls. At just 19, she has more than a handful of awards proving that age isn’t everything! She is exceptionally talented but has been scrutinised by the media, even more so recently with her newest shoot with Vogue. Billie has Tourettes and body dysmorphia. Her songs also tell the story of the darker side of her mental health such as her suicidal tendencies.
These are just a handful of amazing artists that have mental health problems and continue to work in the music industry. Mental health problems don’t have to stop you from being successful, as long as you make your mental health your number one priority. Take small steps each day to look after your mental wellbeing, you can be a badass at any point!
If you are struggling with your mental health problems, please be kind to yourself. Here are a list of great organisations that will always have the time to help you:
Music Minds Matter 0808 802 8008 (24/7 helpline, free of charge).
Music Support 0800 030 6789 (Open 9am - 9pm on weekdays, 10am - 8pm on weekends)
Mind 0300 123 3393 (Open weekdays 9am - 6pm).
MIND: McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey.
NHS: Lubian, K, Weich, S., Stansfeld, S., Bebbington, P., Brugha, T., Spiers, N., … & Cooper, C. (2016). Chapter 3: Mental health treatment and services. In S. McManus, P. Bebbington, R. Jenkins, & T. Brugha (Eds.), Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014. Leeds: NHS Digital.