Music Artists Use Their Spotlight for Mental Health

 Illustration By Andrew Khanian

Illustration By Andrew Khanian

According to Psychology Today, "Some people have a vulnerability to psychological struggles. This vulnerability seems to be in the areas of people dealing with themselves, others, and their environment." The article goes on to state that "as people age and stressful experiences mount. their psychological problems often increase, manifesting in different ways." Those struggles become so extreme that they sometimes lead to self harm, or even suicide.

According to an article by Emory University, titled Suicide Statistics there are more than one-thousand suicides on college campuses per a year with suicide being the second leading cause of death among people aged 25-34, and the third leading cause of death among people aged 15-24. For many, one escape is music. Whether it's playing a melody or listening to someone else’s melody the sound of instruments, vocals, or just the lyrics can affect a person's mood. Songs - the art of someone else’s thoughts and feelings displayed in a melody - are one way people are reaching out to others, and to trying and prevent suicide.

This is evident in Logic’s recent single "1-800-273-8255". Since the release of Logic’s single, calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are up thirty-three percent when compared to 2016 with three times the activity on Facebook. Google searches in regards to suicide prevention have gone up one-hundred percent and continue to increase by twenty-five percent consistently. The National Suicide Prevention website visits which were getting around 300,000 visitors a month, have since reached over 400,000 as Logic uses his platform to spread the word and defend the rights for suicide awareness and equality, according to an article in Variety.

In rapper Logic’s recent music video for his single "1-800-273-8255" the video is a story of a teenage boy dealing with un-acceptance from others and balancing the decision between living life or ending life. The lyrics to this song and visual story telling within the video brought attention to many people ultimately resulting in shining a brighter light on an already important topic.

Well known actor, Luis Guzman, was approached to play one of the leads in the "1-800-273-8255" music video. He took the role as the high school track coach and school teacher. “You think of a coach , you think of a teacher, and they are in their own ways, they can be lifesavers,” Guzman said in a phone interview. “I heard the song, saw the title. It really hit a nerve in me. I felt honored I was asked and I wanted to make a statement on behalf of humanity.”

As Guzman openly spoke, the importance of the song he shared “We live now in what I consider to be a very stressed society, especially for young people…a lot of this stuff puts people in a dark place.”

Logic’s music video is about a young man coming out as gay and having to deal with the rejection of not only his father but his peers. “ It’s a hard thing, you find yourself alone when that stuff happens …they can find themselves in a dark place,” says Guzman. “We live in a different world…It was once taboo to be transgender, gay, lesbian. It was taboo to even have physical challenges, walk with a limp, or be blind. People didn’t know how to handle it. The alienation that people face was ‘oh my God its a terrible thing,’ but we are human. We have to show the best of our humanity. That’s why all this stuff is so important. I wish more videos were made and promoted humanity, understanding, knowledge, love, caring. And I wish people would do those things, we need it.”

According to Psychology Today, every year, over one million people die by suicide. A separate article by Psychology Today also states that “For every successful suicide, there are ten men and women who attempt suicide, and for every one of those, there are ten who think of ending their life, but do not.” People struggle with conflicts daily, coping with issues of this world can be taught, and continually reminding people of options other than giving up, is important. 

“I am not an expert,” says Guzman, “but I have had friends I have had to talk out of suicide. People need to talk to people, people don’t look for opinions, they want to be listened to, they want to be heard.”

Whether you or somebody you know is dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts there are always helpful sources available. One of those being SMC’s Center for Wellness and Wellbeing, located on the main campus in the Liberal Arts building in room 110.

“I think with music it’s kinda like a universal language it just connects with everyone and there’s certain people that have the same feeling or reaction to the song because they have probably been through the same situation,” says Bianca Barraza, 18 and a first year student at Santa Monica College.

Pain and suffering is felt by many people whether people admit it to each other or not. In the article "The Scientific Benefits Of Music" it states that, music reduces stress and eases anxiety as well as helps you heal. The article goes on to state that "Music connects with the automatic nervous system (brain function, blood pressure and heartbeat) and the lambic system (Feelings and emotions.)" 

Dr. Roxana Zarrabi, Staff Psychologist at the Center for Wellness and Wellbeing says, “The Purpose of the Center for Wellness is to provide support to students through short-term therapy and referral assistance in order to promote the psychosocial development, personal well-being, and academic achievement of students.” Support groups like Share Culver City, who have a wide variety of different support groups, can be contacted at 1-877-SHARE-49 to inquire further about the groups.

There are always people and resources to turn to that can make a difference. From websites to phone numbers, such as the Santa Monica College Suicide Prevention Center at spec.org, and much more. 

Guzman concludes his interview with explaining that the worst feeling a person could have is when they weren’t able to be there for someone, when you have to say to yourself, “I wish I could have known his pain, her pain. I wish I would have took the time. We must take the time.”