James Blake has stepped up into the spotlight as an advocate for mental health awareness and need for better support systems for musicians. At the Performing Arts Medicine Association on Sunday at Chapman University in Orange County, Calif, Blake spoke about his own struggles with depression, anxiety and even “suicidal thoughts.”
According to Billboard, Blake was speaking as part of a panel “You Got This: Managing the Suicide Crisis in the Arts Population,” where he spoke about his mental struggles early on his career.
He says one big factor that exacerbated his mental health issues were dietary problems.
“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. “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.”
To help get better, he credits EMDR therapy and his girlfriend, with whom he lives in Los Angeles.
He wants to remove the stigma around mental health and allow musicians to be open about their problems so more deaths via substance abuse and depression don’t occur.
“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. 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.”
He spoke out in May after being fed up about having his music labeled as “sag boy music.” He felt the term was “unhealthy and problematic when used to describe men just openly talking about their feelings” and could in the end stifle their ability to open up.