Songs About Mental Health

Thursday, 6 September 2018


TRIGGER WARNING: This post has a strong focus on mental health and mentions self harm and suicide.

Firstly, I wanted to say thank you to everyone that reached out to me after my last post. Whether you were just sending your love or letting me know you enjoyed that stripped back style of post, it really helped me feel better and also encourages me that people do actually care. I wanted to continue to talk about mental health whilst i'm in a bit of an episode, and I decided to combine it with the one thing I am most passionate about; music.

Ariana Grande recently released her new album Sweetener, and on that album is a song titled Breathin. The track is receiving attention as instead of being about love, sex and heartbreak like the majority of pop songs, it is about anxiety. This inspired me to dig into my music archives and share some of my favourite songs that explore topics of mental health in their lyrics. Mental illness' can feel so isolating, so hopefully some of the lyrics in these songs will help you realise that if you are struggling, you are definitely not alone.

Nothing's Real - Shura.
I first fell in love with Shura when I saw the video for Touch, but upon listening to her debut album when it was released in 2016, there was even more to love. The title track from the album speaks about having a panic attack and all the thoughts going through your mind, whether they make sense or not.
Lyrics: I need medicine / My body's not connecting, they're telling me that i'm fine / I got nerves around my chest.

Drown - Bring Me The Horizon.
As the lead single from Bring Me The Horizon's fifth studio album - That's The Spirit - Drown is one of my favourite tracks from the Sheffield band. The track as a whole is pretty dark and shows obvious nods towards struggling with mental health.
Lyrics: Got a hole in my soul growing deeper and deeper and I can't take one more moment of this silence, the loneliness is haunting me, and the weight of the world's getting harder to hold up. 

Breathe Me - Sia.
While many of you were only made aware of Sia's existence after the release of Chandelier 4 years ago, she actually has a career that has spanned across 25 years, including 8 studio albums, 6 live albums, and 35 singles. One of those singles is Breathe Me, which speaks of struggle with mental illness and self harm.
Lyrics: Help, I have done it again, I have been here many times before, Hurt myself again today, and the worst part is there's no one else to blame / I have lost myself again, lost myself and I am nowhere to be found, I think that I might break.

Stan - Eminem ft. Dido.
One of the biggest songs of the 21st century has a huge strong focus on mental health and suicide, and this comes from American rapper Eminem. You know the story; a fan is infatuated with the singer whilst clearly unwell, to the point where he takes his own life, along with his pregnant girlfriend. It is absolutely devastating but shows such an important, strong message, and Eminem was praised by just about everyone with this release, calling the track a 'cultural milestone'.
Lyrics: I'm wondering why I got out of bed at all / Sometimes I even cut myself to see how much it bleeds, it's like adrenaline, the pain is such a sudden rush for me / You got some issues, Stan, I think you need some counselling.


She Lays Down - The 1975.
Taken from their second album, The 1975's She Lays Down is a story of Matty's mother, Denise Welch, and her postnatal depression. The song is deeply heartbreaking but equally beautiful, and Denise has spoke out about receiving loads of supportive and encouraging messages since the release.
Lyrics: She lays down on her bedroom floor, the chemicals that make her laugh don't seem to be working anymore / She just wants to feel something / In the end she chose cocaine, but it couldn't fix her brain.

Disturbia - Rihanna.
Rihanna's number one single Disturbia may be a catchy pop tune, but when you break it down it seems to be a story about either being possessed by some kind of devil, or struggling with mental health issues, which some would argue is on the same wavelength. One of the writers of this song was ex boyfriend Chris Brown... Take from that what you will.
Lyrics: Feels like I'm going insane / It can creep up inside you and consume you, a disease of the mind it can control you, it's too close for comfort.

Happy Little Pill - Troye Sivan.
The first single from his first EP, Troye Sivan didn't waste no time at tugging at our heart strings. He stated that the song was written about someone close to him who was going through a rough time, and explores loneliness and how people cope with the things going on in their lives.
Lyrics: My happy little pill, take me away, dry my eyes, bring colour to my skies / Numb my skin / Sweat and conversations seep into my bones, four walls are not enough.

The Middle - Jimmy Eat World.
Known as Jimmy Eat World's "breakthrough song", The Middle became a teen favourite as it talks of struggling to fit in when growing up, which i'm sure we all related to at some point in our lives.
Lyrics: Don't write yourself off yet, it's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on, just try your best, try everything you can and don't you worry what they tell themselves when you're away. 

Breathin - Ariana Grande.
And lastly, the song that inspired this post. The thing that drew me to this song is it's upbeat pop vibe that almost helps the stigma around anxiety being negative. It makes it an every day part of life and hopefully gives understanding to more people.
Lyrics: Some days, things just take way too much of my energy, I look up and the whole room's spinning / Time goes by and I can't control my mind / I gotta keep, keep on breathin'.

I have made a playlist of all of these songs and more that explore mental health, some more obvious than others. You can listen and/or follow below!


Do you have any songs that help you through your mental illness? Let me know in the comments.

© Image Source: Shura

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