Joining the likes of EDM producer Tigerlily, pop stalwart Natalie Imbruglia and INXS’ Jon Farriss as the non-profit organisation’s musical representatives, Richardson will be tasked with helping to destigmatise the conversation around mental health, and encourage fans to seek help in situations of crisis.
Speaking to ABC Radio Hobart, the singer-songwriter said he’s long had “a big passion for mental health and the benefits of trying to talk about it and get it out there in the open”. It’s a prevalent theme in Luca Brasi’s music – the band have released five studio albums since 2011, with their most recent being last February’s ‘Everything Is Tenuous’ (which NME praised for its “heart and endearing honesty”).
“As someone from a smaller rural community, myself and my friendship circle have been through a lot of loss,” Richardson told journalist Lucie Cutting. “We have a lot of experience with mental health issues and it’s touched a lot of us. To be able to help in some way is something I’m really, really excited about.”
Richardson went on to say that he was spurred to join the Lifeline team by the efforts of volunteers local to his region; the organisation currently has more than 300 volunteers based in Tasmania.
“I’m seeing people that really care about what they do and put themselves second or third or fourth to people they care for,” he said. “They don’t just knock off and go home and finish for the day, they take this stuff home with them.”
In her own statement, Debbie Evans – the chief executive of Lifeline’s Tasmanian arm – explained that Richardson was a unique fit for the role of ambassador, as he appeals to an audience that tends to struggle when it comes to seeking help for mental illness.
“Tyler brings to the role such passion and enthusiasm,” she said, “But [he also] has an ability to connect with young people, particularly men, who unfortunately do not always seek support in times of distress or crisis. Music has a unique power that creates connection and gives a voice to the tough subjects like suicide and mental ill-health.”
Pointing out that organisations like Lifeline “never get the funding they deserve”, Richardson added: “A service like this is so vital and important to communities”. Between its 24/7 crisis hotline, text message service and online chat facilities, Lifeline receives more than one million enquiries every year.
Meanwhile, Richardson is also gearing up to release new albums with both Luca Brasi and his solo project. Both are yet to be formally announced, however Richardson released ‘Text Her’, the lead single from his debut solo album, last month.