Nothing But Thieves discuss why it’s time to change the way we talk about mental health

The band have also re-recorded 'Broken Machine' for the #IAMWHOLE campaign for Mental Health Day

Nothing But Thieves have spoken out to challenge the way that people talk about mental health and depression, and have re-recorded their track ‘Broken Machine’ for the #IAMWHOLE campaign.

Today to mark World Mental Health Day, Nothing But Thieves join the likes of Nick Grimshaw, Liam Gallagher, Ed Sheeran, James Corden, Professor Green, Adele Roberts, Anna Williamson and many more as as ambassadors of the new #IAMWHOLE campaign with the YMCA and NHS. New research shows that nine out of ten youngsters have come across negative stereotypes about mental health in everyday speech that need to be challenged.

To help raise awareness, Nothing But Thieves have discussed the impact that such harmful language can have. To launch the campaign, they have have also re-recorded ‘Broken Machine’ with a string section and performed a special gig at the BT Tower in London.


“The use of language that a lot of people choose to use when discussing mental health is just very derogatory,” frontman Conor Mason told NME. “It makes someone who’s going through it feel very small and unimportant. People need to realise how important it is to be listened to and to be taken seriously. Saying stuff like ‘it’ll be fine, it’ll get better, it’s all in your head’ – it’s unassuming and conversational but very hard to hear when you’re going through it. Just because it’s physical, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

“A couple of years ago I wasn’t really that attentive to it, then I had a big change of heart and mind and I want people to be able to understand that too.”

“Young people have told us that stigma is the main reason why they don’t talk about their mental health difficulties or seek help,” Denise Hatton, Chief Executive for YMCA England & Wales told NME. “It comes in many different forms and most young people experience stigma through harmful language and negative stereotypes.

“Simple expressions such as ‘snap out of it’, ‘it’s just a phase’ or ‘you’re crazy’ can cause serious damage for someone who’s already struggling. If we want people to feel confident enough to talk about their difficulties and seek help, we need to start challenging society on the way it talks and also challenge ourselves. Only by being accountable for our own actions can we really drive change.

She added: “The #IAMWHOLE campaign is working with famous faces including Connor from Northing But Thieves, and Jordan Stephens, to show young people in particular that mental health difficulties can affect everyone and there’s no shame in talking about it. By raising awareness of the issue and educating people on harmful language and stereotypes, we are tackling stigma one word at the time.”



  • More than four in five (81%) young people have heard negative words and stereotypes about mental health
  • 60% of young people said social media is where they most frequently saw negative words and stereotypes about mental health
  • 72% of those hearing or seeing negative language and stereotypes believe social media is the most common place for people pick these up
  • Only 30% of young people who have heard or seen stereotypes and negative language say they are used with the intent to cause harm, with the majority (79%) putting their use down to a lack of understanding about mental health.
  • 74% of young people who have heard and seen negative words and stereotypes say people must be educated about mental health to stop these, while 70% say talking about mental health will help tackle the issue.
  • Two thirds (66%) of young people who have seen or heard harmful words and negative stereotypes relating to mental health say it is simply part of everyday language, with ‘psycho’, ‘retard’ and ‘attention seeker’ being among the most commonly used words, new research from youth charity YMCA has revealed.

For more information on the #IAMWHOLE campaign, visit here.



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