Ed Sheeran has spoken about his struggles with suicidal thoughts, and claimed that the UK still has a negative stigma around therapy.
The singer-songwriter has opened up about his ongoing battle with depression in a new interview, and explained that he often feels “embarrassed” by them since becoming a father.
Although he has faced these issues throughout his life, according to Sheeran, last March marked the toughest time yet. This was due to the passing of two of his close friends: DJ, Jamal Edwards, and Australian cricketer, Shane Warne.
Edwards – who helped launch Sheeran’s career – died in February 2022 after suffering a heart attack, triggered by substance use. He was 32. Warne also passed away following a heart attack the following month, aged 52.
“I felt like I didn’t want to live anymore,” he told Rolling Stone. “Those thoughts were bad enough, but shame arrived as their companion. They seemed selfish, especially as a father. I feel really embarrassed about it.”
While he proceeded to explain that songwriting has become a coping mechanism for him, the ‘Shape Of You’ singer also addressed what he considers to be negative stigmas about therapy in the UK.
“No one really talks about their feelings where I come from, he said. “People think it’s weird getting a therapist in England. [But,] I think it’s very helpful to be able to speak with someone and just vent and not feel guilty about venting.”
He continued: “Obviously, like, I’ve lived a very privileged life. So my friends would always look at me like, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad.’ [However,] the help isn’t a button that is pressed, where you’re automatically OK. It is something that will always be there and just has to be managed.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Sheeran also stated that both the passing of Edwards and the recent birth of his daughter, Jupiter, has prevented to him from turning to alcohol or substances in his low moments.
Discussion around mental health has also been channelled into his upcoming fifth studio album, ‘-’ (‘Subtract’).
Set for release on May 5, Sheeran described writing the album as a form of “therapy”.
“It helps me make sense of my feelings,” he said. “I wrote without thought of what the songs would be, I just wrote whatever tumbled out. And in just over a week, I replaced a decade’s worth of work with my deepest darkest thoughts.”
Additionally, ‘Eyes Closed’, the first single set for release, was written as a tribute to Jamal Edwards. The single will available this Friday.
For further help and advice on mental health:
- ‘Am I depressed?‘ – Help and advice on mental health and what to do next
- Help Musicians UK – Around the clock mental health support and advice for musicians
- Music Support Org – Help and support for musicians struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or mental health issues
- YOUNG MINDS – The voice for young people’s health and wellbeing
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably
- The Samaritans – Confidential support 24 hours a day