Following the massive success of his Grime meets Gospel album Gang Signs And Prayer, Stormzy spoke out on his struggles with depression in a recent interview with Channel 4.
In a world where mental health comes with a huge stigma attached, even more so in men, minorities and rap music, it’s not easy to speak out.
Stormzy admits that until he experienced it himself, he didn’t understand depression, always having considered himself to be a strong person who would just pick himself up and carry on no matter what life threw at him.
‘For me it was a realization of how fragile we are as humans, in the most beautiful way possible. When I went through what I went through, I felt stuck. That was a world that was so alien to me.'
He says that he was at first unsure whether he wanted to speak out on his depression, as he wanted to still be seen as ‘Strong Stormzy’. This Speaks volumes on the way that we perceive mental health problems as a taboo, and this is why it was so brave of him to open up on his struggles.
The number of people suffering from depression is astounding and yet most hide it and deal with it alone. The idea that depression makes you weak is one that needs to be broken down and Stormzy has already played a part in this just by touching on it in this interview and on the album.
‘If there’s any one out there going through it, I think for them to see that I went through it would help. For a long time I thought the strongest people in life don’t go through that, any person I admire or look up to hasn’t felt like that, they just pick themselves up, and that’s not the case."
"I thought it was important for people to know that it’s not that you’re weak or that you can’t handle life, it’s nothing to do with that. Sometimes you’re stuck and life does that, it happens.’
For people suffering from depression, recognizing that it is a very real, serious illness and not a sign of weakness is key, and having Stormzy touch on this instead of hide it or sweep it under the rug could make all the difference. On track Lay Me Bare he speaks of feeling low and isolated, and this alone could help someone else going through similar struggles to feel less alone.
‘Like manna get low sometimes, so low sometimes, airplane mode on my phone sometimes, sitting in the house with tears on my face can’t answer the door to my Bro sometimes,’ says Stormzy on Lay Me Bare.
There’s a long way to go with getting rid of the stigma that is attached to mental health and mental illness, but Stormzy has spoken for a group that too often go unspoken for, and this has made a big impact in a such short amount of time and could give a glimmer of hope to those who may need it most.