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> Artists "cashing in" on mental health issues
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Lindsey 🙃
post Jun 2 2018, 10:33 PM
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So I just saw the above tweet from All Time Low's frontman on Twitter and have spent the past quarter of an hour scrolling through that thread of replies so figured I would throw the question at you guys because it has kind of irked me that this has become a consideration in today's culture.

I know I won't need to go on about how common mental illness is among us all today but I personally feel like it's still not talked about enough, there's still a shit load of stigmas attached to things like anxiety and depression and it's often not taken as seriously as it should be. I don't think I've ever looked at an artist who has spoken up about their struggles with mental illness or how its affected them in some way and thought "oh aye, they're definitely just doing that for the cash and attention" like what?! I admire people who use their platform to shine a light on problems that affect SO many of us. The more discussion the better, I dont understand how this is something anyone can pander to, its not a bloody trend unsure.gif

Tbh I'm not even sure what Alex is trying to get at there with his tweet, is it people who write about it in their music? All Time Low have loads of songs like that and surely he of all people should know how much music can help you get through the hard times etc...

Speaking of, Hayley Williams recently wrote a really personal op-ed for Paper magazine that discusses her struggles with mental health over recent years as thematically that is the whole point of Paramore's After Laughter album. I can't help but think maybe that's what Alex was referring to but like, having this letter that so many people can connect with and relate to and know that someone they admire has went through the same things they have and come out stronger for it, how can that be bad?

Anyway I wanted to know what you guys thought of this idea, have you seen any examples of artists "cashing in" on it? Do you know where Alex is coming from with his point? Is there other examples that aren't mental health related but are still exploiting social issues? Where do you draw the line (if at all) between discussing mental health and "pandering" to it?

Y'know, I feel like this arguement could be made for LGBTQ issues as well (lets tie it into pride month shall we), except there's definitely companies etc that are guilty of uping their efforts to make money from Pride during June.

There's always this whole thing about romanticising mental illness which doesn't help in our strive for more progressive and helpful discussion I guess
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post Jun 2 2018, 10:43 PM
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Will maybe expand later cos v tired but I feel the growing awareness and acceptance of mental health has led to a select number of people of the younger generation using it as a statement (or even excuse!) for themselves when they’re not really affected by it. The trouble is that it’s so easy to say you have it because there’s no easy proof for it in most cases (which is why the stigma is there!)

I’m mainly talking about general public there (well largely YouTubers) but I can’t say I’ve really seem it for artists
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post Jun 2 2018, 11:25 PM
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I hate that with mental health awareness becoming bigger, it in my opinion, for some reason, has had a opposite effect on some people who don't take it seriously and think it's just for attention sad.gif

I really think it's damaging and I know some people who just really don't get it.
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post Jun 2 2018, 11:30 PM
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I completely disagree. As a mental health sufferer myself, I cherish seeing more big famous names opening up about their struggles and sharing their experiences. It is something that is needed in society and mental health issues affect people across all walks of life. It has a positive effect when celebrities open up about these things as it opens up discussion for more people about it and it sets an example and shows people not to be scared to talk about it.
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post Jun 3 2018, 03:25 PM
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Artists NEED to talk about it tbh, with so many mindless pop songs tailored for Spotify playlists, it's so important that people talk about their actual experiences and then people don't feel like they're alone, whether it's LGBT or mental health. Artists have a platform, and I can't stand when others police it saying x or y shouldn't talk about stuff because they're "just a musician", like they shouldn't be *obliged* to but if artists have an experience to talk about, mental health, LGBT or otherwise, why shouldn't they? Increased acceptance does not equal a trend, more people are singing about it because it is increasingly ok to do so it isn't such a taboo but there's still such a stigma around it that needs to be addressed, and it's important for artists to keep using their platform to help break the stigma down. Whatever the issue is, I'd much rather hear something real and important than stuff about hoes and drugs or whatever laugh.gif

I do get the romanticisation thing though, it's so easy for Fiat 500 Twitter to just flippantly be like "omg it gives me so much anxiety when I'm waiting for a BooHoo order otherwise I won't have anything to wear for a night out D: D: D:" or for people to make depression their "aesthetic" by acting like it's some great thing that enhances your character and makes you cool and mysterious. We've probably all made those sort of comments and not realised, which is fine, but it's so damaging when people consciously do it all the time and don't think about actual mental health. It's stuff like that that makes mental health seem like a joke or attention to some people I think, and it's a shame that that's what people see and take from rather than actual stories.

I know people too who just don't really get it, but I tend to just cut them out as I don't need them in my life when I struggle with it myself. My best friend admitted he didn't really "get" self harm and thought it was attention (despite generally being really open minded about things) but because of me he's seen what it does and why people might feel that low, so I feel like popular artists speaking about it could really help people. Even if it isn't a family member or best friend, knowing that a musician they love has gone through mental health struggles and learning about it through their music, they can see that someone they respect or care about struggles and it isn't something reserved for attention seekers on Twitter.
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