A few weeks ago I started a Movement for Mental Health with bands. The Purpose of the movement was to allow bands to share words of support, or personal stories to let their fans know that they are not alone with or without this pandemic. There is a huge stigma on mental health and millions of people suffer without reaching out because they feel alone. With this worldwide pandemic -- it is making mental health issues worse, and making them appear. Suicide rates are up, depression, anxiety, OCD, and tons of other mental health related issues are rising. It is important to let people know they matter and that it is okay to not be okay. Please share this article with others! By sharing this you are being part of the movement and helping reduce the stigma. This article is pretty lengthy, but that is because it is full of wisdom, love, encouragement, altruism and personal stories.
A message from The Spooky
“Mental health.. As us Punx, stay strong in your minds as we've always been and have been prepared for this. To others that are in total fear, just stay inside and know everybody is in this together. Stock up on can foods and water. Don't let it get you down. Play board games, have some drinks and talk positive among each other. The music will never stop! It is what keeps us sane.. a universal language.” -Mike Mora
A Message From UK DECAY
” Take a rest from the rat race. Tis a really strange time for all of us. None of us are immune from feeling stressed or anxious. Emotions can fly to the fore before you realize it. At the same time it is more important than ever to care for each other and particularly our vulnerable friends and neighbours.... and to perhaps just take a step back if things become difficult, particularly on Social Media. I will hope that we can all catch up on our sleep, if you can eat well, nourish yourself. This will be good for your immune system and give you a fighting chance against infection. Be positive and take the opportunity to plant your grow gardens and write some new music! Have joy in letting the planet take a breath!”
A message from Alien Sex Fiend
”As some of you might already know or have guessed from some of my lyrics in songs like "Isolation", "Stressed Out", "Buggin' Me" and many more, I've found life difficult at times myself. A long time ago I was put on very heavy medication, although it might help some people, it didn't work for me! and I can only tell you wot works for me - that is writing down my thoughts, sometimes those become lyrics, and doin' me music and art... If you ain't got a guitar or keyboard lying around, & if yer feelin' lost, down in the dumps or just at a loose end, pick up a pen / biro / crayon and doodle, & see wot appears?
OK, some of you are gonna say "I can't draw" - fuck that! You're comparing yourself to what's "acceptable" as "art", & putting up a barrier Forget about anyone seeing it, you can keep it private. A woman once told me years ago, just get a bit of paper, some ink or paint, & if yer very moody just paint the whole page black!!! I've never looked back...
Alright not everyone's gonna be a classic artist - well as far as I'm concerned that's bin done to death anyway... whenever I start to paint I might have an idea in my mind, but my pictures come out how they want! The gloom you're carrying drains away through your hands... give
yourself over to it.
Oh! I ain't got no paper or this, that or the other... well u must have a pen or a pencil! Draw in newspaper columns or any blank bit of paper, or make a collage of cut-outs, old photos, etc, etc., the main thing is to stop that downward spiral - stick some far out music on and paint / doodle away those blues... Happy scribbling, stay safe!“ -Nik Fiend
A message from Boy Harsher
“I am trying to slow down + figure out what makes me feel happy / content. Always been self-critical and sensitive, now I really feel those things. Been going on these walks on Mt. Tom. Somehow really helps with perspective. I guess I've always been afraid to be alone - but forced isolation rly makes you confront some of your fears.” -Jae
“I've been checking in on people, calling friends, engaging. Although we're in isolation, this connection has been helpful for me.” - Gus
A message from Poweman 5000
“You’re not alone. I can only speak for myself. I have struggled with mental health/Depression for as long as I can remember. Music has saved my life on more than one occasion. Talk to a friend, talk to a family member if you can. Get lost in a band you love. Don’t give up or let go. 🖤” - Ty Oliver
A message from Darling Dead
“Whenever you fall into a dark place, no matter what the source is, find a positive release for yourself. Be it someone close to you to speak with, music, a movie, a book that you enjoy. Find something or someone you love to help pull you through and get to the other side. Don't let hopelessness control you. Very importantly don't ever feel like you are alone. There is always someone out there to help get you through. They may not be right in front of you but they are there. Never give up!” - Brandi Kates Mitternacht
A message from Paul Roessler - (Former The Screamers, 45 Grave, Nervous Gender, Twisted Roots, Nina Hagen, Geza X and the mommymen, and more).
“I have suffered from various crazies plenty at different times and to differing degrees.To some extent, when I'm crazy, I'm crazy and that's all there is to it and nothing really seems to help. That said there are a few things I would offer.
A certain amount of suffering arises from the thoughts in our heads. Do we have a choice what we think? I believe that there are exercises we can do to gain control of our thinking; move it away from the thoughts that torture us and more towards thoughts that bring us joy.
In addition to that, no thoughts are better than toxic thoughts, so I'll settle for emptiness over a self inflicted hell.
Easier said than done. Meditation practices are the obvious techniques here, but exercise, making music, reading or even watching TV or movies give us a break from the monkeymind. It is NOT necessary to go around and around with obsessive thinking that hurts us. The obsessive thinking itself is part of the issue, although it disguises itself as "figuring things out." You can set a limit: a half hour a day of obsessing is "figuring it out" after that, you're just crazy. Not that you'll be able to stick to it, but you have defined what is healthy and what isn't and now it can be a goal.
There are a lot of teachers throughout history on these subjects but sometimes teachings are just words. I get strength from just watching someone who is operating in a state of mind that looks optimal. That could be Eckhart Tolle or Mooji, but lately I've been watching a lot of Jacob Collier, who is just a 25 year old brilliant musician who is passionate about his life and music. Sometimes it's better to observe what mental health looks like and just sorta copying it, than to try to think our way there. When I am watching Collier, I am also studying my craft; growing as an artist as well as resetting myself in a positive direction.
Which leads to human contact. When we are depressed, talking to someone else is sometimes the last thing we want to do, but sitting in these feelings alone are a good way to just stay there. Very often, things shift a little when we share life with a friend, a therapist or a relative. This seems obvious maybe, but the results of this far outweigh the words it takes to describe it. I put watching a spiritual teacher in that same category. It isn't one on one contact, but they have a gift for making people feel less alone. Very little changes when we are alone compared to when to consciousnesses come together and bounce off each other.
Lastly, a certain amount of my depression has been situational and that can be addressed in different ways. One is to remember that situations change, even though when we are depressed they seem like they never will. The other is to change them.
For me, I was never going to be able to address these issues as long as drugs and alcohol were what I was using as a solution. They had to be taken completely off the table. It is a hard thing to look at the behaviors that lead us into situational depression. Even more than drugs and alcohol, I did an even bigger number on myself with my relationships. As hard as it is to give up drugs and alcohol, giving up people and our addiction to them can be even harder. And I was also addicted to adolescent dreams that I held onto for dear life. I wasn't interested in "growing up." But eventually being an adult actually feels pretty good, although it's kinda painful to get there. Painful but worth it.
These addictions, or "attachments" as the Buddhists call them create suffering. There is a difference between having passionate and enthusiastic connections to life and a pathology of need.
Mental illness comes in degrees. In my opinion, virtually no one is perfectly balanced. Those suffering from the worst of it are forced to live in confinement for their own protection. But for some of us, there is the possibility of recovery and improvement. Bottom line is a daily commitment to climbing out of the hole, rather than sliding deeper into it. Some of it we can do ourselves, some will require seeking outside help.” - Paul Roessler (Currently in the Gitane Demone Quartet)
A message from Experiment Perilous & Stardust Heroes
“Mental health is the most fragile, delicate part of being human.
Sometimes the thoughts that circle in countless echos of loneliness, long lost desires, failures can really become destructive to one's spirit.
It is important to believe you, we all matter! We have a purpose each and every one of us! You are very likely the reason someone smiles, even when smiling seems difficult for someone dealing with mental health issues. You are not alone and you are loved! So turn up the volume to the soundtrack of your life
And pogo like a motherfucker!
Live, love and Lust for life!” -Edward Transylvania
A message from Terminal A
“I feel like it’s a silent wide spread issue, so many fun, party people I know, who are outrageous and act out, are just really enacting the positive aspect of brokenness (I don’t exclude my self in that) also when you are an artist you are perusing abstractions and bringing them into reality, when I’m on the verge of shutting down and let fears and self consciousness seize me, succumbing to the voice that says always “your a total piece of shit, this person left you because: this bad thing happened and you deserved it because: you where born for failure because: you are a piece of shit, less-than” it strikes me as a similar process where that negative emotional feel is not concrete reality, just a side effect of situations that mark one, there is the abstraction, the bringing it into reality is the falling into shutdown mode, the process of yielding to it, letting these inner tempests dictate what you do, and limit how you interact with the external world.” -Colin Peterson
A message from Otzï
”Sometimes we have the support of those who love us, and sometimes we simply do not. Sometimes we truly have only ourselves. And we know from science that the body does experience emotional pain and physical pain in the same neural circuits. So the emotional pain we feel, though the cause may be invisible, is real. I remember in the darkest time of my life, I was forced to find strength from within. Alone at night, I sat in my bed, placed my head in my hands, and I prayed. It doesn’t matter if I am spiritual or agnostic or atheist, because I didn’t pray to anyone in particular. And I didn’t pray for anything to get better. I simply prayed for my pain to go away, over and over. And slowly my body started to writhe slowly, my spine and shoulders undergoing strange unconscious contortions. And then I would feel it: there’s the knot in my shoulder, or the small of my back, or in my chest near my heart, that wants to be wrung out. And I would pray and writhe until I was tired, and then I would sleep. I did this nightly, until I felt at least 20% better, until at least I was not storing so much pain that it felt like it would swallow me whole. That’s the only way I know of ridding oneself of the deepest emotional pain. And then, if you feel well enough to, I urge you to find peace in song - your own song, your own voice, in the frequencies that come from your own body. It doesn’t matter if you’re a singer or if you’re tone deaf. The vibrations from singing reach the Vagus nerve, which soothes the body under stress. Sit or stand still and explore silence. Pay attention to the way slow breathing feels in your body. And then, sing one note. It doesn’t matter what it is, just let it out, and hold the note for a long time. Sing that note again. Pay attention to vibrations in your body. Can you feel it from your chest? Your lungs? Your head? Now sing another note, higher or lower, and pay attention again. Now sing another. These three notes are now your own sacred song. Repeat them, add to them. Enjoy them. When we find beauty in our own voice, in all it’s cracking and shifting and wavering, we learn to honor ourselves on an instinctive, visceral level. We begin to understand that we are one of many and our individual experience is sacred. We remember that even in our worst times, we are a human being worthy of love and beauty — and if we can’t find it anywhere else, we can find it from within.” -Akiko Sampson
A message from Andy Smith (Former Lead Singer of Peeling Grey)
“We have an opportunity right now to not only nurture our own mental health, but also to check up on others. This is a time to show compassion, and ensure we leave no one behind when we arrive to wherever this is collectively taking us. I've made a few calls lately, and have reached out to those closest to me. When they beat me to the punch, it means a lot that they took the first step. I offer no antidotes, but at the very least advocate we all keep talking and show we care for one another. Love still goes a long way, no matter how hard it is right now.” - Andy of the late Starship Peeling Grey
A message from Cemetary Girlz
“My childhood was terrible, I felt rejected and alone every day. Everyday I felt like no one liked me. I was quiet, and my style and music taste was different from the “norm” people. It was hard for me growing up when people were so mean to me. Always saying “you’re a freak.” In the end I really started to believe it. My family told me to go away when I was 15years old. I was lost and afraid and I wanted to end my life so many times. I grew up believing it was better to be alone.But I ended up meeting some good people who understood me for who I am, and didn’t judge me. I started to write and make art. And believe me nothing was perfect but the thing is, when you make music or paint or anything and you really love it and feel it with all your heart. People can feel it and recognize this madness and they thank you for that. It’s just incredible to look at myself today. I never thought I would or could play music in front of people who understand and love the music I make. I cannot describe the feeling. What I can say is I felt that I was no one, I was rejected. But, sometimes one person can encourage you and change your life just by saying; “Just do it because you are really great!” Everyone is special, if you can see beauty in darkness, you can feel the beauty in anything and you are beautiful ! Stay yourself and stay truely you.
A message from Cliff and Ivy
“embrace your complexity. you belong, just the way you are.” -Ivy Silence
A message from JAK SYN
“Feel, Embrace, Learn, Strengthen, Grow, and remember that we are not alone, we are human beings, and are alot stronger than we give ourselves credit for.
We build, destroy, adapt, create and survive. We choose our path and have the power to decide what kind of day we want to have. Push everyday and never give up.” -JAK SYN
A message from Fate Destroyed
“In the midst of winter, I find within me the invisible summer.
When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.” -Nathan Young
A message from Big Mess
“Everybody reach out and tell all your friends you are there. We all need some interaction in these weird times. anything even if it is just hi your not alone.” - Chad Carrier
A message from Bloody Knives
“People need to prepare to grieve in a way we are not prepared for, both personally and as a society. We have to learn to accept things that are beyond our control instead of trying to maintain control, or seeing it as a personal failure. Our circumstances do not define our worth, our value is inherent to our existence. Find peace and stillness in forgotten or overlooked places to fight against the overwhelming cloud of anxiety hanging over everyone. The urge to die is often really the urge to live coupled with the inability to do so. At times things may seem overwhelming and unending but it will pass and there will be more life to live on the other end of it.”-Bloody Knives
A message from Sounds Like Winter
“This is a great opportunity to display solidarity amongst communities, family, friends and loved ones. This isn't a time for hoarding, it's a time for sharing and when this is over (and it will be over), we can carry that mindset with us. This whole thing could be a wake up call for a society that has lost it's way. If we fight to keep the focus on protecting those in need, who knows where it could lead. When we open our doors again I'll see you at the barricades! And y'know, maybe work on that book, zine, art, game or solo album. People are ravenous for some culture right now.” -Andi Lennon
“We are all going through mourning. We have lost job security, bands, friends, gigs and human contact. Be gentle on yourselves and try to cultivate healthy, mental and physical habits.” - Ant Banister
A message from Dageist
”I am part of the band DaGeist (danse macabre records) But first I am a firefighter and in these times of the virus outbreak. It is most important right now. and we need to help people when they need it...dark kisses 🖤🦇-Frederic Strzelczyk
A message from Hosting Monsters
“"It's ok to have feelings. It's ok to feel sad and angry. It's ok to feel guilty and anxious. We all feel. That's what connects us. That's what makes us human. Don't be afraid! Let yourself feel the negative feelings, but don't let it take away from you when you're happy and content. Because that's what you deserve. You deserve to BE happy and to BE comfortable. No one can take that from you. We're all in this together!" -Hosting Monsters
A message from Gentleman Junkie
“We are strange people, living in a strange world, through even stranger times... and unfortunately, it’s only just begun. Sometimes I sit here blown away by it all, but then I remember being a kid, seeing some of the old relatives with numbers tattooed on their arms; and though it was many years before I understood what those numbers were, I know now. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that what they lived through far surpassed anything we are going through in every imaginable way. And do you know what I remember the most about them? They laughed. They laughed a lot! And so, hold on to your sense of humor, smile as often as you can, and laugh a lot too.” -Ed Korn
A message from Bed Of Moss
“Sometimes, while traveling through the desert of life.. you trip and fall into the quicksand. It will try to pull you under & consume you. You have 2 choices, let it swallow you and abandon all hope.. or crawl out of that fucker and live to see another day, stronger & wiser. Though it's just an analogy, I think you can read deeper into it and how it relates to this moment. We will all come out of this, many of us with a stronger head to carry upon our shoulders.” -JD
A message from The Noktornals
”Sometimes the most troubled minds are the most creative.......sometimes the most hectic of times bring out the calmest of heads. Sometimes the calm and level headed norms of society find their sanity in a most compromising situation. In a world gone mad, up is down and down is up. Sometimes chaos can be beautiful......if we get out of all this it'll either bring us closer as a society or tear down an already dying world. Love each other and love your young. Love is the key that will save our souls even from a dying world. I can't say much else because I've been writing about this time in all my lyrics since i started writing music back in 2003. Everyone said I was crazy” -The VCS
A message from Black Vatican
“Strength comes from chaos. With each trial we face we are given the opportunity to rise and face the void. Out all the madenning voices you hear in your head, remember this; they are not you. They are only parts of you who, in contrary belief, do not want control of your body, instead they simply want you as their audience to listen to them, understand them. Finally, when you are ready, unite them and you will hear them simultaneously say unto "thank you". The strength here is to face the unknown depths of your mind, for it is always one's greatest foe as well as one's greatest opportunity.” - Erick Ramos
A message from Venus In Fear
“Mental Health is such a difficult matter because it doesn't necessarily show physical illness.
It just consumes you slowly and your relatives and friends stop noticing these small changes.
That's why it is so important to know that these things do not define you.
You were someone before these things clouded you and you're not the person you are meant to be, yet.
Stay strong, reach out. It can't stay cursed forever.” -Alex Graves
A message from The Blood Wisdom
“Condensed story… Grew up pretty normal happy in Oklahoma. I was a Pom Pon in high school . I’ve had a gun to my head while me and my friend were on our way to go dancing one night. I graduated then rumors started that I had aids. Jealous people in high school and stupid shit can really mess up person’s mental health . I wanted to die. I had a dream I met our creator and things instantly changed for me ,moving forward . P.S. I don’t have AIDS!!!! The dream showed me a vision of moving to CaliforniaI. I moved to California and started a new brilliant life. Indulged in the SoCal life. Got held underwater trying to surf almost died prayed for my life that I wasn’t ready to die and swam to the top In the middle of a set of waves. I went to college in San Diego had a lot of fun went a little crazy. Made my way from hitting rock-bottom being homeless for a couple days. Found my love for drums. God renewed and gave me a rebirth . Moved to LA started my own business In the city of Angels and joined Blood Wisdom. I am married and so blessed to be with my tribe!!!!!” -Michelle Sharples
A message from Edda Ortiz (Former Lead Vocals of Belltower Bats)
“Like it's not cute, it's not funny, like just stop.” -Edda
A message from Ultima Circo
“We are told to hide our sickness for the comfort of the inclusive majority. . I prefer to shine my sickness for the comfort of the one's they left out.” -Dusty Mulkey
A message from Neco Praeoccupor Morte Nexhe and The Black Company Music
“I'm probably not special to many outside of the permeable astrata of weirdos, but I'll cast in to solvate unto an ocean. It's ok to be a cult of one. Even one is willed into essence upon the desires of many. The microcosmic council has elected a certain unity that is your perception of self. This union is as precarious as any other form of attraction and yet it is so. Make of this what you will.” -Kiki Fujita
A message from Black Mercy Riffs
“Even if you are scared, fuck shit up and overcome any obstacles that stand in your way.” -Kenny Ravage
A message from Mortis “The Devil‘s Reject”
“No matter how dark it may get you are not alone.” - Mortis
A message from Fender Staxx of Green Jellö
“I know this is a shitty situation that leaves everyone feeling isolated and alone. But at least we are all going through the same situation. If you are feeling down, try to channel your shadow into doing something creative. Also remember we are doing this to stay safe. The Green Jellö family just recently lost someone close to us to depression and isolation, but don’t feel like you’re going through it alone. We’re all in this together... but separately.” -Sykogecko John Jinnings
A huge thank you to all the bands that joined the mental health movement! You all are going to impact some lives! "Stigma Fighters" - Morticia
Here is a little slideshow of most of the bands that participated in this article.