Let’s Talk: Wise words on mental health from Frank Carter, Carl Barat and more

The best way to tackle mental health issues is to be open about it, which is why these artists are speaking out. We spoke to these prominent figures about why its important to talk. For more information and advice on mental health, go to MIND, CALM, Samaritans and Youngminds.

“It’s as normal as having a cold”

Dan Smith Bastille NME

Dan Smith
Bastille singer

“[Discussion of mental health has] definitely become normalised, but needs to be more so. I’ve always been really honest about the fact that I get anxious and super-nervous about playing shows, and that comes from being honest about this. I’m not up for cultivating some sort of false rockstar image for the sake of it. It’s important people feel able to talk about it. It’s something that affects so many people and should be something we can talk about as much as having a cold or any other physical illness.”

“You are not your avatar”

Frank Carter
Ex-Gallows, current Rattlesnakes

“We’re entering into a society that’s very narcissistic. It’s moving at a fast rate and I don’t think anyone has any kind of understanding because there’s not been any time to research the effect that has on our mental health. We’re moving into a place where social media gives us these avatars and in a lot of ways we’re more concerned with how we’re perceived on the internet then we are in real life. When you meet most people in real life you realise that their online avatar is something really different to reality. It’s a dangerous place to be.”

“You’re strongest at your most vulnerable”

Loyle Carner
London rapper, spokesman for ADHD sufferers

“It’s of the utmost importance that we talk about these things. Me and my friends are opening up to each other a lot more. Being there for your mates and them being there for you is where it all starts. The idea of ‘being weak’ if you’re emotional is just not true. “When you’re at your most vulnerable, that’s when you’re at your bravest and strongest. As soon as you say, ‘This is how I feel,’ someone is going to say, ‘Yes, I feel the same.’ Just find someone you can open up to – be it a counsellor, a friend, a relative, just someone you can trust.”


“You don’t tell someone with a broken leg to get over it”

Mikey Chapman
Mallory Knox frontman

“You don’t sit down with someone with a broken leg and tell them to get over it. We all know what it feels like to feel physical pain. With something like intense depression, some people haven’t skimmed the surface – they might have felt sad, but not for two years. A lot of people don’t understand because mental health is a subjective thing. It’s a difficult thing to understand if you haven’t been through it yourself. People find it very difficult to talk about. It requires a lot more conversation. It isn’t a case of immediate response, action and solution; it’s a much deeper issue than that. We’re not used to that in the immediacy of the modern age.”

“Social media creates a void for a lot of people”

Sam Douglas
Bassist with Mallory Knox

“Instagram is good for seeing what your family are up to, but social media is just a show-reel of the best moments of a person’s life and it’s not making that person who’s having a bad day stuck at home feel any better. Social media can be a fantastic tool, but it works the other way too – you always feel like you’re missing out. We exist in a very early stage of the internet; we’re still in its infancy and we don’t really know the full scale of the impact it has on society. Social media creates a void for a lot of people. It needs to be looked at more in depth and improved by people a lot more intelligent than me.”

“Give people time and space”

Shirley Manson
Garbage singer

“What we forget is that it’s so difficult for people to speak out. They carry so much shame, shyness and inhibition. They’re not used to hearing their voices ring out in an open space. It’s so easy to say ‘speak out’, but it’s intimidating for people to speak out about what they need, what they want, what they’re scared of, what their brains are making them think. You need to give people time and space. We all need more patience.”

“It’s about bringing yourself to a calm place”

Tom Daley
Olympic-medal-winning diver

“Mental health is often ignored by lots of people. I do 10 minutes of meditation every morning to help with anxiety and stress. People feel ashamed speaking about it, but [depression] is just the same as any other illness – being able to speak about it and work on it can help. Lots of people, if they don’t have mental health issues, think it’s easy to get over, but that’s not the case. I’m way more calm. It’s all about focusing on breathing and bringing yourself back to a calm place.”


“Saying it out loud can be cathartic”

Justin Young
The Vaccines frontman

“[Depression] is something we all suffer from at times, but we’re still far from moving forwards and being able to talk about it to the extent we should. Views around masculinity are shifting. The way men communicate with each other continues to be archaic in many ways, and a lot of us are closed books. It’s important people know they can find help and talk to their friends, family or professionals about their feelings – even if it’s just to help you process your thoughts and quieten down your brain. Just saying something out loud is an incredibly cathartic thing.”

“Ignore the trolls”

Carl Barat on mental health

Carl Barat
The man from The Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things and The Jackals
“There are varying opinions of us out there, but I have to rely what I know – not what trolls might say. If there are people interacting with us in a room, then I’ll go with that rather than some smart-arse comment in a paper or online. If you’re dealing with anxiety then you have to come up with a coping mechanism to protect yourselves from them.”


Kacy Hill
Model and singer signed to Kanye’s GOOD Music
“Speaking out to create awareness is always a great start, but in my personal experience of having severe anxiety for the majority of my life, it helps to have an outlet. This outlet differs from person to person, whether it be some form of activism, art, exercise, or something else entirely, but there is a great power in putting as much anxious energy into some kind of productivity. Productivity is also a relative term, but I use it as anything that can turn unwelcome, depressed or anxious energy into a motivating force).”