Scott Hutchison’s brother and bandmate Grant reflects on a year of their Tiny Changes mental health charity

"What children and young people can teach us as adults is impossible to learn from anywhere else"

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Scott Hutchison’s brother and Frightened Rabbit bandmate Grant has spoken about the work of the Tiny Changes charity set up in his memory.

Scott Hutchison passed away in May 2018 after taking his own life and years of battling depression. In his memory, his family set up the Tiny Changes charity last year to fund and find inventive ideas of how to improve mental health services for young people.

“It’s been very up and down,” Scott’s brother and former Frightened Rabbit drummer Grant told NME of the charity’s first year. “For the family, it’s been a strain too but it’s been really exciting for the charity to become what it is and what it will be.”

He continued: “We’re very mindful of the reason for the charity existing, but we also don’t want Scott’s death to be too big a part of the charity. We wanted him, his character, his personality and the life that he led to be the drive it, without too much focus on the end of his life.

“You can’t avoid it, though – you have to be open and honest. It’s a hard balance to strike with having Scott at the heart of the charity, but also needing the charity to exist on its own and for people who aren’t Frightened Rabbit fans to have faith in us and the work that we do.”

Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison

Scott’s own struggles with anxiety as a child inspired the nickname Frightened Rabbit, before it was adopted by the group. Now the charity, set up by Grant, his mother, and other brother Neil, are rolling out their first funding to help young people with similar mental health issues.

“Young people need a lot of help and attention, and it’s something that affects almost everybody,” said Grant. “Not every young person will suffer from poor mental health, but our approach is a preventative one. We want to give them the tools and the skills to deal with it, even when they’re at a point when they don’t need them.

Grant went on: “The lack of understanding is the main thing I’ve been surprised by. I haven’t suffered in the same way that Scott did or in the way that a lot of the people that we will be helping have, and it’s an almost impossible thing to wrap your head around if you haven’t felt those emotions – but, it doesn’t take a lot to try and empathise, even if you can’t fully comprehend it.”

Grant Hutchison performs with Frightened Rabbit at ‘Sleep In The Park’. Credit: Danny Payne/NME

The coronavirus lockdown has also put a strain on mental health services, pushing Tiny Changes to set up a relief fund to help young people in underprivileged areas stay connected and try to provide more online counselling.

“We can’t really ignore what’s going on,” said Grant. “This is going to have a huge impact on young people. A lot of funding seems to have been cut off or put on hold since this crisis took hold. It seems ridiculous that such a vital thing would happen at a time like this, when so many other things are being taken away.”

Speaking of their longterm aim, Grant said that they needed to ensure that “real solutions” were found and tailor-made for young people, and that they should be a central part of the conversation around mental health. “One thing that’s come to light is this question of why no one is listening to young people and what they need,” said Grant. “You’ve got these policies and things that we do for physical health, then there are these things done with mental health in adults that they try to apply to children and they don’t necessarily work. Just putting people on a list for counselling – it doesn’t work.

“When anyone, young or old, gets to a point where they want to try and find help, it’s just not easy. Expecting someone struggling with their mental health to just pick up a phone might even be too much – let alone filling out a form and see several different people. That’s going to be exhausting. The lack of instant help for people who might not be in immediate crisis really needs to change.”

He added: “Even though we’ve all been that age, what children and young people can teach us as adults is impossible to learn from anywhere else. Myself, mum and Neil are not mental health experts, so it’s important for us to take on board what people with lived experience and want to change things have to say. From the very beginning, we’ve set out that we are here to listen.”

Click here for more information and to donate to the Tiny Changes mental health charity in memory of Scott Hutchison. 

Last year, Coldplay honoured Hutchison by giving him a songwriting credit after being inspired by his solo Owl John track ‘Los Angeles Be Kind’ on their new album song ‘Everyday Lives‘.

This came after Frightened Rabbit released the tribute record to ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ with covers by the likes of Biffy Clyro, The Twilight Sad, Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Chvrches Lauren Mayberry and many more. The album was planned by frontman Scott Hutchison before his death.

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