James Blake has opened up on the stigma surrounding mental health in the music industry in the way expressing his personal battles with anxiety and depression.
Speaking at the annual symposium the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) on a panel called You Got This: Managing the Suicide Crisis in the Arts Population, Blake went into detail on how he has suffered and dealt with suicidal thoughts and anxiety in the past and that the music industry has reached a critical point concerning mental health.
He spoke openly about the labours touring at such a young age and the effect it had on him personally. “Your connection to other people becomes surface level” he explained. “If you were only in town for one day and someone asked you how you are, you go into the good stuff…which generally doesn’t involve how anxious you feel or] how depressed you feel.”
Blake also touched on the “myth” that anxiety breeds creativity and depression is ten seen in geniuses. “I can truly say that anxiety has never helped me create.” he said. “And I’ve watched it destroy my friends’ creative process too.”
He also explained how he came to manage his anxiety and depression, accrediting , a positive relationship with his girlfriend who he lives with in LA, severing ties with people who negatively effected his lifestyle and changing his dietary requirements.
“I would say that chemical imbalance due to diet and the deterioration my health was a huge, huge factor in my depression and eventual suicidal thoughts,” he explained. “I developed dietary] intolerances that would lead to existential depression on a daily basis. I would eat a certain thing and then all day I would feel like there was just no point.”
Blake also touched on the importance being open and talking about mental health in this industry, saying “we’ve reached a critical point… We are the generation that’s watched several other generations musicians turn to drugs and turn to excess and coping mechanisms that have destroyed them. And there are so many high-prile people recently who’ve taken their own lives. So we, I think, have a responsibility to talk about it and to remove the stigma.”
This is not the first time James Blake has expressed his concern with the stigma surrounding mental health in music, and we hope it isn not the last and that others step up as well. In May he shared an open letter addressing his mental health after being categorised by some listeners as “ following the release his single .
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