Keith Flint’s comments on mental health feel all the more poignant now
Keith Flint, an enigmatic character who played such a prominent role in shaping culture in the UK with The Prodigy, developed his own blend of rave culture that dramatically saw the band headline major dance festivals such as Creamfields as well as metal institution Download—a testament to the diversity of what they created.
Tragically, in March 2019, the world was left devastated when Keith Flint was found dead by suicide, an incident which arrived as further proof that despite enjoying success in a world famous band, mental health doesn’t discriminate. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 50 in the UK and it is a pandemic which Flint was sadly a victim of. Due to the singer’s high profile, it can be easy to think that he wasn’t going through the same stresses to that the average man on the street—that consideration alone is a tragedy, one which saw him beoame one of the 84 men that die by suicide in Britain each week.
Despite all the glitz and the glamour that is perceived from being the frontman in The Prodigy, beneath all that Keith Flint was just another middle-aged man from Essex who was struggling with his mental health following the breakdown of his marriage. Flint, throughout his life, had been open about the importance of talking about his struggle with addiction, one which would rear its ugly head before his tragic death with cocaine, alcohol and codeine being found in his body during the postmortem.
“You see, the band is everything to me, it’s the only thing I’m really proud of about myself,” Flint said in a very open and frank interview with The Times in 2009. “I got bang into coke, weed, drinking a lot,” he added. “This made me reclusive, boring and shallow. I’d line up rows of pills and just take them and take them and I’d lose track of how many until I passed out.”
The conversation then turned to the topic of whether Flint had ever felt suicidal, “I guess so. But you need a lot of balls to kill yourself. I was a coward.” He then told the interviewer that he believed he could never do it because of the unconditional love he felt for his dogs. “I’ve taken this vessel of a body to every corner of the Earth, and already done more than most people could even dream of,” Flint, then aged 39, added.
The same topic of conversation reemerged in 2015, a time when when Flint spoke with FHM and he looked back upon his darker days which he had seemingly escaped from. “It was a dark period, I was drinking and taking too many drugs,” he admitted. “The problem is, you’ve got shitloads of cash and shitloads of time and all you’re doing is looking for a buzz. I got to the point where I had to stop. I didn’t want to be a jabbering wreck.”
“I’m not saving up for anything,” he said, when discussing the topic of taking his own life. “I’m cashing it all now. I’ve always had this thing inside me that, when I’m done, I’ll kill myself. I swear to God that’s not suicidal – it’s definitely a positive thing. The moment I start shitting the bed is when you’ll see me on the front of a bus,” he openly stated.
Flint’s battle with addiction and mental health problems is one that for many is a factor they must live with for their whole lives, knowing that they could succumb to it at any moment. What The Prodigy man did, in speaking so openly about the topic, help break the taboo on these crucially important issues and spread awareness to the masses about the reality of being an addict.
If you are struggling with your mental health, please call CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) on 0800 58 58 58 to get through to their helpline which is open 365 days a year from 5pm until midnight.