Music videos

Songs about mental health issues at live gigs

Hugging Barbed Wire – Owen Wilson
I still can’t listen to this song without getting something in my eyes… Owen was 17, coping with the first year of “A” levels – not to mention an increasingly psychotic brother and very stressed and depressed parents. Which is just what you need at that stage in your life, and it would have been totally understandable if he had reacted badly.

Instead, he was disconcertingly mature and stable (most of the time), but showed his feelings in these heart twisting words. And then placed them in this evocative and memorable music.

First public outing, recorded live – in a pub, spring 2007. Owen and Alicia – and a TV, and noise from the bar, and several beers… Ross was sectioned soon after.

Let me be nothing – Ross Wilson
Ross was seriously depressed after released into the wild from hospital, despite the anti-psychotics and anti-depressants. We talked often. It’s a very disturbing experience to listen your son talking about the pointlessness of life and the attractions of suicide. I’d regularly rush home from work in response to a phone call from Ross or on hearing the tone of his voice when I had called him. You become very sensitive to the non-verbal cues… He’d often feel better after an hour or so face-to-face. I’d usually have to go to bed, exhausted.

Sometimes he’d be up, as on this Mental Health Day event when we had glimpse of the old Ross, articulate, on form and in control. Hope.

Recorded live: Mental Health Day event, October 2008. Ross on stage for the first time post hospitalisation

Song of Sickness – Peter and Ross Wilson
I wrote the words on a family holiday in France in the summer of 2008. Ross had been released into the wild from hospital the week before, and I hoped that he could be persuaded to set them to music (no subtle hints of occupational therapy there then…). We spent the afternoon sheltering from the sun under a tree while he worked his magic – and then went back to hating everything and himself…

It was an attempt to express my feelings of desolation as I gradually lost more and more of my son to mental illness, lying awake night after night with a stone in my stomach.

Recorded live: Mental Health Day event, October 2008. Ross on stage for the first time post hospitalisation.

Melancholy – Ross Wilson
Ross wrote this song when he was about 14. Leafing through a dictionary for inspiration, he came across the word “Melancholy”.

As this fitted with his mood at the time, he wrote words and music that eventually turned out to be somewhat prophetic.

Recorded live: Mental Health Day event, October 2008. Ross on stage for the first time post hospitalisation.

Going Home – Ross Wilson
A song about the fears and anxiety associated with returning home and to your life after mental illness – “is there a life still there for me…”. The experience of betrayal by your own mind, by your own thoughts and the subsequent re-writing of your personal narrative as you recover is guaranteed to  make a puree of your self confidence.

It brought tears to my eyes – but then I’m now a complete emotional wimp as it turns out that my stiff upper lip is soluble in psychosis (or rather, the emotional effects of the psychotic episode – but why pass up the opportunity for a little alliteration…).

Recorded live at “Halkingfest” (the Langley Eisteddfod in our back garden) in late summer 2009 with a host of friends and family.