James Blake opens up about his mental health and “suicidal thoughts” while on the road touring his music.
Blake, who appeared as a guest speaker at the Performing Arts Medicine Association’s talk in California, was discussing mental health for musicians, dancers, and actors. The organisation that focused on the improvement of mental health care during a panel discussion which was titled ‘You Got This: Managing the Suicide Crisis in the Arts Population’.
Blake took the opportunity to explain his struggles with depression and anxiety while, at one point, discussed he had experienced “suicidal thoughts” as a result of life on the road. “I was taken away from normal life essentially at an age where I was half-formed,” he said, according to Billboard. He then went on to explain how “surface level” interactions while touring gives a false sense of security: “which generally doesn’t involve how anxious you feel [or] how depressed you feel,” he said.
“I would say that chemical imbalance due to diet and the deterioration of my health was a huge, huge factor in my depression and eventual suicidal thoughts,” he said continued. “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.”
Now finally comfortable talking about his experiences, Blake explained that the discussion around mental health had “reached a critical point.”
“We are the generation that’s watched several other generations of musicians turn to drugs and turn to excess and coping mechanisms that have destroyed them,” he said. “And there are so many high-profile people recently who’ve taken their own lives. So we, I think, have a responsibility to talk about it and to remove the stigma.”
For anybody who might be struggling to deal with mental health issues, here are some helpline numbers for you to talk to:
Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
Charity providing support if you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
Phone: 03444 775 774 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.30pm)
Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and OCD. Offers a course to help overcome your phobia/OCD. Includes a helpline.
Phone: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am-10pm)
Rethink Mental Illness
Support and advice for people living with mental illness.
Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-4pm)