With his new album The Great Depression, Patty Walters and his buddies want to break the silence about mental health, depression and suicide . He met Jonny Boucher, funder of Hope For The Day, during summer to share with you some really interesting points of view on the subject.
(Please don’t forget that artists are not professionals but people who try to keep the conversation going and share personal tips. So if you want more information or support, you can visit the website of Hope For The Day.)
Hope For The Day, what is it?
A non-profit organization founded in 2011 by Jonny Boucher after his boss and mentor Mike Scanlan committed suicide, Hope For The Day aims at creating dialogue about mental health, depression & suicide and at rectifying misconceptions. Everything began with printed flyers distributed within music venues in Chicago but quickly, Jonny started getting onstage to promote collective awareness and help people to break the silence. Depression and suicide have no prejudice, that’s the point. That’s why it’s so dangerous and important. It doesn’t matter what age you are, the money you have or your origins. It’s not something you decide but it’s something you don’t have to hide. It’s not something unnatural, but the conversation has to exist to break down ignorance.
Do you think music industry is a safe place? Hell, no. Overexposure, social media, hard work… Music industry is a really beautiful but also a stressful place. We all need to be aware: artists are humans. But isn’t music also the best way to raise our voices? This troubling paradox deserves more attention.
Hope For The Day hit the road with Warped Tour to take advantage of greater visibility. The very committed Patty Walters (As It Is & CrazyEightyEight) paired with Jonny during the summer to open a really important discussion through free workshops.
We went to Florida and wanted to share with you their best tips and wonderful philosophy. So here’s a little summary.
IT’S OK NOT TO BE OK
Here’s the most important of all the tips, the motto of Hope For The Day. Jonny and Patty just exposed this fact: no one has to hide his feelings, sadness or doubts because of guilt or shame.
Depression doesn’t define you. It never defines who you are but what you’re going through. It’s not something unnatural. To make your life better, you have to share your story and not wear a mask. That’s what Patty Walters tried to share with us. During a long time, he really thought he had to wear his best fake smile for the fans. Artists are lucky, right? How can they complain? But like we said: Depression has no privilege! This anxiety-provoking situation didn’t help him at all. Then, he understood that he had to accept it and that meant not lie anymore. Fans got it. After all, their idol is only human.
SPEAKING UP ISN’T A CRIME
According to Jonny Boucher it’s all about communication. Negative stereotypes have to end. Sharing your sorrow doesn’t mean you’re spreading it. It just means you’re trying to make things easier. The only way to know who could help you is to ask. Silence will never be helpful. The thing with depression is that the hardest part for your relatives and those close to you isn’t sharing your sorrow, it’s realizing what they could have done if they had known earlier.
NOTHING’S BETTER THAN FAMILY
It seems so obvious but here’s another friendly reminder: family is always your first support. It’s scary because family are people we care about but most of the time, they are those who know you best and who really care. They can help you find a solution and be really supportive.
Patty Walters told us the story of his daughter who was struggling with depression alone during a long time. He blamed himself for being blind and wished he could be more helpful. Now all of her family is by her side. Patty even wrote her the beautiful song Rachel to apologize.
LIFE ISN’T SOCIAL MEDIA
« Who would want to share a meal with someone who’s stuck on his phone ? » « Not me.» answered Patty. This is a fact: social media are killing real relationships and have an impact on our mood. We’re not in the real world anymore when we’re looking at our phone every 5 minutes. We’re just focused on what others think of us, on the bad news… But who cares? You’re living your life for yourself. Just enjoy every little moments in life.
Jonny kept asking Patty: « What difference does it make to have 1000 likes on a picture ? » « Absolutely none.». According to the funder of Hope For The Day, it’s important to limit your access to social media, like 20 minutes a day for example. Even if he thinks it’s already too much (and he’s so right, isn’t he?).
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS CAN MAKE THINGS WORSE
Prescription drugs are not a miracle solution. It has to be said. It seems easier than long talks because you’re not exposing yourself but it’s not. They can be really dangerous and cut you off from reality. You have to be aware that drugs are something to take seriously and not drink alcohol with it for example. If you’re on medication, you don’t have to be isolated. Inform your family.
MUSIC, THE BEST THERAPY ?
Music can’t solve everything but can help creating a lifetime of memories and make you meet amazing new souls. Jonny and Patty gave us this friendly reminder. Patty and his band As It Is shared onstage with us every day such a powerful and feel-good message:
« Maybe today’s the best day of your life. Maybe not. Or maybe it’s only the second one. And you know what? That’s fucking okay. Just be yourself. You don’t have to be okay. But we’re here at Warped Tour and we’re gonna play some music just for you guys and we hope you will enjoy it and keep it in minds for the bad days. »