George Ezra on mental health: ‘Talking and listening makes the world of difference – you’re never alone’

Today is International Men's Day

For International Men’s Day, George Ezra has spoken out about breaking the stigma around males discussing their mental health issues.

Today (Sunday November 19) marks International Men’s Day. After addressing his own battles with anxiety on recent single ‘Don’t Matter Now‘, the acclaimed singer-songwriter will be playing a special London charity show at London’s Union Chapel next month in aid of the charity the mental health charity MIND.

Speaking to NME about the impact of him discussing his anxiety through song, Ezra described it as “an ongoing conversation” – but one that needs to happen.

“I am by no means an oracle of answers when it come to mental health,” Ezra told NME. “I just believe very strongly that something as simple as talking or listening can make the world of difference. When I started to write my second record I felt that what I needed to do more than anything was to be honest, for myself more than anything else. I’m lucky that what I do for a job demands that I write in some capacity. And writing about what I was feeling helped more than I could have imagined.

He continued: “Mostly because of the reaction from those who heard the songs, it became very evident very quickly that I was by no means alone. And I guess that’s why I believe so strongly that conversation is key. Once you realise you’re not a freak for thinking the way you do, you are not alone. It becomes that bit easier to approach your own situation.”

George Ezra
George Ezra

With around 75% of suicides in the UK a result of men taking their own lives, Ezra stressed the importance of breaking down gender stereotypes for men to feel no shame in discussing how they’re feeling.

“I’m a man (honest) and I know from first hand experience that one of many things that groups of men are shit at doing is talking about feelings, emotions, stress, family issues, relationship issues etc,” Ezra told NME. “Again, I don’t have all the answers but I’d take a good guess at the fact that gender stereotypes and dated expectations have a big part to play in this. ‘Stop being a girl, or ‘man up’, are things that we hear being thrown in the direction of young men from an early age.”

Ezra will be performing at London’s Union Chapel on December 8 (for tickets and ballot information, visit here). Discussing his involvement, Ezra told NME: “MIND have always been a charity that I supported in my personal life, you know just monthly donations. Then we went on tour earlier this year and decided to test run collecting for the charity at our shows. The donations made by fans blew me away. We managed to collect over two grand in two weeks!

“Since then I’ve been plotting different ways to help with the charity and the upcoming show felt like the perfect way to end the year with MIND. I will, of course, continue to collect at shows too.”