HOW CAN WE LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER?
The shocking deaths of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington have people asking for better discourse on mental health. This month, we asked you...
We can all take a good look at ourselves before bullying people online based on their musical tastes. What you find “shit” may have helped other people battle their demons. Think about that before you shitpost. LUCY MCCRAE I struggle with depression. No one knows it’s happening unless I ask for help. That’s what the metal community needs to understand: it’s OK to ask for help. You don’t have to project the image of a badass 24/7. The more you try denying your demons the harder they are going to get you.
Ongoing discussion is the key to destigmatisation. Maybe a monthly Hammer column that addresses issues in the community with a metal musician who lives with mental illness would be cool. You could talk about the musician’s struggles along with the stigma around whichever illness is being discussed. I know many metal musicians have lost loved ones to
suicide and addiction. In a way, the suffering from mental conditions is a catalyst for the passion behind metal. It’s everpresent in the community and yet seldom addressed. ABBY BUCHANAN
It’s tough, as there is a risk of glamourising mental health. It is ingrained into this type of music, which is why it attracts those that feel a disconnect. And, for a teenager especially, I think feeling like you’re just like that tragic soulful artist you idolise can be dangerous. But, on the flipside, it helps to know you’re not alone. Music can help those who are depressed and help let them get heard, feel less alone and give words to confusing feelings, but it’s not a ‘cure’ for those with a mental illness – it’s an illness, that kills.
even a feature like this is a good thing. I have depression and it’s nice to see and talk to others who have gone through or are going through it. The fact is that, unfortunately, not everyone is going to understand, but I think another sad fact is that some people do refuse help and then it becomes a struggle because others
will blame themselves when in reality they are doing all they can. It took me the longest time to start talking about it and it is slowly helping. I’m far from the finished article but slow progress is better than no progress.
ANDY LOWERY I definitely think metal music helps a lot of people. I remember robb Flynn saying a lot of his fans come and tell him that the live version of Crashing Around You with the extended intro helped a lot of them realise they weren’t alone. We could all do more, though.
I only ever seem to see anything about it in the metal scene after someone has a meltdown or takes their own life. Ginger Wildheart is very open about his struggles and the work he does trying to raise awareness. I was lucky in that he personally sat down with me a few months back and gave me some really good advice on things after I tried to take my own life. Unless you’ve experienced life on the road, you’ll never understand how easy it is for artists to start struggling with things. ALEUTIA SHANNON
Find the artists who give you a feeling of love or caring in the world. For example, listening to Killswitch engage and Lamb Of God helped me through a lot of stuff in the past, mentally. Music is a tool you should use to get inner feelings and emotions out. Playing music is an even better way of achieving selfserenity. Playing and performing music through my teenage years kept me from doing a lot of harmful drugs and activities. I’ve never even smoked a cigarette in my entire life and I thank the love of guitar and singing for that as it consumed the vast majority of my time and thinking.
NEXT MONTH: DOES METAL NEED TO LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP?