More and more artists are opening up about mental health. We spoke to Adam and Cameron from The Howlers about personal experiences and the importance of sharing them.
The Howlers: The topic of mental health has become more and more prominent, especially within male orientated social circles. Previously, struggles within our gender have been suppressed in favour of ”appearing strong” and ”putting on a brave face”… which is quite frankly bullshit. Mental health struggles are of course just as prominent in women, but we can only speak from our personal experiences of fighting against the internalised toxic masculinity ‘that’s been fed to us from an early age by societal norms. In a band made up of three lads where two of them have very prominent mental health issues that we deal with daily, it’s crucial to address them openly. We are fortunate that within our little family unit we can sit down and chat with each other and say ”Look, mate… ‘I’m struggling” if it means we cancel rehearsals and go the pub or it means we ‘don’t gig for a while, we do that because that’s how it should be…. supporting each other.
Do you write about mental health in your lyrics?
The Howlers: Of course, our songs reflect our own experiences. As a band, we have been through things that we wouldn’t wish on anyone, and our songs are an outlet for these emotions and experiences. I think that’s why people seem to connect with the emotion and ferocity on stage, ‘we’re not just singing about any old bollocks, we are living and breathing what we are performing. Its a cathartic tool using a song as an outlet for dealing with mental health and it has most definitively helped us, and I think you can tell in the lyrics. Whether it is about losing a loved one, a bad relationship, the breaking of family bonds or the traumatic experience of finding your feet in your formative years at school and college, we have all been there its just a case of whether we choose to show it or not.
Do you think that this openness in the media has helped personal relationships in young people? Or people still hide their darkest fear and feeling?
The Howlers: It is changing, people do still hide their fear and suppress their feelings, that I can say without a doubt, as fear is a powerful thing, and the fear of not knowing is even worse. The majority of the media, I believe, has done very little to help young people. Its representation is always half-arsed and misguided when they talk about mental health… and then ‘it’s glossed over moments later with a picture of a new royal baby. I believe that moving away from the screen and paying attention to our own needs and of those around us is the only way to strengthen relationships in young people indeed. Our particular openness as a band has strengthened our relationships with each other, ‘it’s a sort of brothers in arms situation. All we hope is that young people continue to work together to show compassion and understanding for one another, away from the screen and on to the street where it counts!
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