Peter Hook, formerly of Joy Division and New Order, has chosen today, World Mental Health Day, to shed some light on the loss of his singer and close friend Ian Curtis, following Curtis’ suicide in 1980.
Ian Curtis, the enigmatic lead singer of Joy Division lost his life to suicide in 1980. The continued lack of support for mental health organisations is, therefore, a serious matter for former bandmate and close friend Peter Hook. Hook spoke to the NME to offer a little more light on this dark subject.
“It’s very difficult for some people to understand what Ian went through without going through it themselves, but the idea of encouraging people to talk as soon as possible and not be embarrassed or ashamed is the most important message”
“The internet is a great communicator, there are a great many problems in what and how people communicate, but people are a lot more educated these days when it comes to depression. Ian had a tough time. Mani [Stone Roses bassist] and I were talking recently about young Ian was to be burdened with the responsibility he was given.
“He was married at 19, he had a baby and a mortgage almost straight away. How many kids at 19 can boast that at this day and age? He was married at 19, with a baby, a mortgage and a full-time job – then he got into punk and formed a band. Then he got epilepsy.”
“When you start looking at the burdens he was carrying back then, it’s no wonder that they dragged him down. Back then the treatment for epilepsy was almost barbaric. The tablets he was taking were analysed in 2014 by modern-day experts and they said that they were guaranteed to kill him.”
Hook is now a proud patron of CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), and alongside his band The Light, is still working to breakdown the stigmatism of mental health issues – though it is something we have seen progression on.
“The treatment has changed and society has changed, I do feel that people are more empathetic and open to education in those things. Myself and The Light have worked with two charities since 2010 – The Epilepsy Foundation and CALM. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 40.
“We’re looking at mental health in a positive way now so that people don’t have to go through what he went through. A bunch of idiots like us can even be educated. We were unaware of what Ian was going through. That, as an old bloke, is the most shocking aspect of it – how unprepared and uneducated we as his friends were. Any education and any communication about things like this towards avoiding what happened to Ian is the most important thing.”
Hook added: “The hardest thing in the world is knowing what people are going through. I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict, and coming to terms with something like that helps you understand it more. It’s very difficult for some people to understand what Ian went through without going through it themselves, but the idea of encouraging people to talk as soon as possible and not be embarrassed or ashamed is the most important message to get through to anyone: seek help.”