My social media is how I keep track of things that matter to me. With music being a major part of my life, many of the accounts that I follow are music industry related, whether they be artist accounts or press outlets. In viewing these, a few people have caught my eye because of their open discussions about either their personal mental health or general mental health on their profiles.
Among the artists that I consistently follow, Dan Lambton (Real Friends) is the first artist that comes to mind in relation to this topic. Especially over the past several months, Lambton has been going through the process of understanding his mental illness, exploring treatments, and moving along a recovery path. This most notably began in November of 2016 when it was announced that currently scheduled European and U.K. tours would be delayed so Lambton could take time to seek mental health treatment. In his statement, his discussed that he had been sober during their current tour because he realized that he had been “self diagnosing and self medicating” without fully understanding what he was experiencing. He was aware that pursuing the next two tours without making changes to his mental health and lifestyle would cause significant tolls on his being.
Shortly after these tours occurred, Lambton spoke with Depth Magazine about Real Friend’s current tour in Australia and briefly touched on his mental health. He touched on a very important point: artists not being perceived as people. Lambton stated, “I think it’s weird that people don’t look at me or the band as regular people. They will see us as a fantasy or unrealistic idol sometimes. I think it’s important to break down that wall between fan and band, and let them know that we struggle just as much as they do.” Although there are many stigmas around mental health, there is also a misconception (i.e. “the wall”) that artists are immune to, or exempted from, normal human illnesses and difficulties. As Lambton says, it is important for artists to break this wall and create a more realistic connection with fans, and he has carried this ideology forward.
For me, I find that Lambton’s twitter account is a fantastic way to follow his experiences with the band, his life and his mental illness. Whether you like twitter or not, it is a platform that allows for relaxed comments and banter. It may not seem like a grand gesture, but his casual posts about his mental health and mental illness are fantastic steps towards normalizing mental health discussions. Whether it be comments about his trip to therapy or the hope that a new medication will help him sleep, these tweets make an impact.
Some of his most recent tweets have caught my attention, which is probably why is the first artist to come to mind. In his tweet here, he commented on how positively group therapy has been affecting him and his perspective on life. This specifically drew in my attention because group therapy is a valuable resource that many do not think about when they first start looking into therapy options. A little later the same day, he shared a video that was shown during his group therapy session because it was a valuable resource for helping others understand bipolar disorder.
So, if you have the chance, check out his twitter or his interviews or just keep an eye on Real Friends. Lambton and his fellow bandmates are setting an example for artists and industry professionals. They are finding a balance between their career and their mental health, and being open about the journey with their fans. I would encourage you to keep an eye on them.