By Nicholas Richard Rees
Sometimes, it takes the voice and experience of a celebrity for society to really recognize a problem. That's not to say the problem hasn't always been present, but at times we can distract ourselves, continue on blissfully unaware.
Recently, Spike Lee, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith helped bring widespread attention to the lack of diversity at the Academy Awards; #OscarsSoWhite. Ian McKellen brought that same attention to the LGBT community, noting the glaring lack of roles and appreciation for LGBT individuals in the industry. Now, Olly Alexander, an Out100 honoree and lead singer of the incredibly popular electronica group Years & Years, has turned the lens to mental illness and the public's lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to individuals suffering.
Alexander opened up to The Guardian's Owen Jones, a noted gay columnist and political activist, about his struggle with depression and anxiety. In the article, Alexander shared experiences that likely mirror those of many gay men and LGBT individuals. From childhood bullying to a desire to be anything but gay, he uses these experiences to highlight the inadequate mental health services available.
Although he is currently in private treatment, Alexander wanted to address the stigma attached to mental illness, its discussion, and its availability. With cuts to NHS (National Health Service) under Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, Alexander wanted to lend his voice to an issue that needs attention.
Watch the full interview below:
Read the full interview on The Guardian.
Photo by Ryan Pfluger