Yard Act have collaborated with mental health charity Mind on a new poem for Mental Health Awareness Week.
Frontman James Smith shared the poem on social media, explaining how he worked with Mel, a young woman who suffered from an eating disorder (bulimia), to create the poem.
“When we first met on zoom, I instantly clicked with her,” Smith said of meeting Mel. “Myself and Mel talked for an hour or so about her life and the condition she lives with. We shared similar views on a lot of things and I found her to be an incredibly grounded, intelligent and astute young person, who genuinely gave me hope for the future.
“I took great care when writing this [poem] to do justice to Mel’s story. She had a great ‘no holds barred’ approach to talking about bulimia and what she has to go through each day living with her eating disorder. Her belief, in her own words was ‘if you’re going to talk about, talk about it.’”
You can watch James recite the poem here and see the full poem below.
Smith also shared the original text version of the poem on YouTube, explaining that the first version of the poem was “tweaked” because it was “deemed too triggering by MIND to be broadcast publicly.”
He added: “Whilst myself and Mel were disappointed by the last minute tweaks, I completely understand the complexity and sensitivity around the subject and respect that decision had to be made.”
You can see the original poem here – this may prove triggering for people with eating disorders.
This is Mel’s story
Don’t assume that the life someone’s living
Is a given, due to the smile on their face.
You don’t know what goes on in my head
When I’m alone in this place.
When mum and dad are out
And all other distractions are exhausted
That’s when the thoughts in my head roar,
Until I can’t ignore those thoughts anymore
So I binge and I purge til my throat gets so sore
These patterns are collateral for all that you stole
That’s why I keep coming back to the toilet bowl
The cycle, it gives me a sense of control
And I’ve a good life too
Yungblud tickets and a cat called Blue
A job helping others, a family that loves us
I’ve got so much going my way, so why?
Well, you never really know what’s going on
in someone else’s head do you?
So if you can’t understand, then don’t “just assume”
Suddenly the whole world knows what’s best for my health
When right now, in this moment
I just need to feel in control of myself
I was asked by @MindCharity to collaborate with one of their clients to write a poem for Mental Health Awareness week. Had the absolute honour of working with Mel to tell her story. #mhaw pic.twitter.com/YR4KicStVA
— Yard Act (@YardActBand) May 10, 2022
Mel was meant to be in the video with me, but she got bloody Covid when she arrived on set and had to be quarantined – here’s us meeting through the window pic.twitter.com/0FAVQq8ryP
— Yard Act (@YardActBand) May 10, 2022
Music Minds Matter Explore is a new website providing those in the music industry with help and resources for mental health support, with help on depression, performance anxiety and more.
The number of musicians who are reaching out for help and advice from Help Musicians has continued to increase, even after lockdown was lifted last summer. Musicians seeking counselling through the Music Minds Matter service has increased by 94.4 per cent in 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, with some of the key concerns including financial worries and thoughts of leaving the profession.
Joe Hastings, Head of Music Minds Matter at Help Musicians, explained: “Music and musicians bring us all enormous joy but as these numbers show, mental health needs within the music industry are continuing to rise. Music Minds Matter Explore has been launched to provide all those working in the sector with a new and additional form of help – adding to the range of services Help Musicians offers in this area.”