Of course, not everyone is as strong-willed as Danny, and unlike him, many musicians also suffer from poor mental health. Add to that an industry that often exploits those who bring it money, even the strongest will can be overwhelmed. Ginger Wildheart, the 56-year-old frontman of The Wildhearts — whose 2019 mini-LP, Diagnosis, is all about mental health and the government’s failure to adequately address it — is a case in point. Ginger still drinks, though his days of excess are long gone, but he’s seen how touring life encourages people to fall down that slippery slope.
“There are a lot of different elements to blame,” he says. “You also show up at a venue and get paid with a fridge full of beer at lunchtime, so you end up drinking a lot every night because it’s all part of the circus. The industry is filled with greedy bastards who only have their own interests at heart. You could say the industry killed a lot of these fallen rock stars, because they allowed it to happen. People don’t become addicted overnight – it’s a long, drawn out process that everyone is allowed to happen.
As much as Ginger blames the music industry for truly making a difference within it, he thinks it’s imperative to start outside of it. And while charities like MusiCares and Help Musicians/Music Minds Matter in the UK are doing their part, while festivals like Download have also become more mental health conscious in recent years, there is still more to be done.
“There has to be some kind of platform to talk about it,” Ginger says. “Everybody have to talk about it. There needs to be a campaign that includes all the celebrities who have been affected by this. We need an education that starts at school, so that children are aware and do not grow up with these things as stigmas. Because they are not.
See Helping Musicians, Music Minds Matter and MusiCares for more information.
If you have mental health issues, don’t suffer in silence. Talk to someone you can trust – a friend, family member, teacher, doctor or counselor. Find more information on how to take care of your mental health at the Mental Health Foundation.
And if you need help right away, we recommend these organizations:
- CALM: thecalmzone.net or call 0800 58 58 58
- The Samaritans UK: samaritans.org or call 116 123
- Or, in the US, the Samaritans Helpline: (877) 870 4673 (HOPE)