Ed Sheeran, the British pop scene’s very own good egg, has signed up to perform at the intimate Music 4 Mental Health gig this weekend.
Sheeran is set to open the sessions, hosted by the mental health awareness charity #IAMWHOLE at London’s Roundhouse this Sunday (18 November), with a stripped back acoustic set the likes of which his fans haven’t seen since he hit the big time.
Sheeran has opened up about his own mental health in the past, including the negative impact body image and societal taboos had on his self-worth.
Perhaps it was this experience which inspired him to use his platform to speak out in support of the #IAMWHOLE campaign. Its mission is simple: To end the stigma of mental illness among young people.
Hosted by half of chart-topping Rizzle Kicks and #IAMWHOLE founding ambassador Jordan Stephens, the Music 4 Mental Health night will feature Ed Sheeran, Anne-Marie, James Arthur, Ella Eyre and Olly Murs plus special guests.
The monumental collaboration project is designed to raise funds for the UK and Ireland’s leading youth and mental health charities; the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), The Mix and YMCA.
Funds will be raised through the ticket sales, and there are still some going, as well as VIP packages which include an exclusive invitation to a pre-event show at Camden House – where Jordan Stephens will host a panel discussing his own mental health – as well as an after party and VIP seats to the gig.
Sheeran said in a statement:
I’m so excited to be taking part in the first-ever Music 4 Mental Health event at the Roundhouse in November. Music is such an amazing way of taking the mental health conversation to a new level.
After all, conversation is important. We all know mental health doesn’t discriminate. So neither should our words.
From accusations of ‘attention-seeking’ to calling someone ‘crazy’, the little things we say – words which have become part of everyday language – can seriously impact someone’s perception of self and make them feel less ‘whole’.
UNILAD met some more famous faces to ask how words affect their mental health:
The project has reached over 120 million people on social media since 2016; an amazing feat after their initial mission’s humble beginnings set out to improve the lives of youngsters in Brighton & Hove.
What began as a regional awareness campaign with secondary school students quickly reached an audience nationwide.
From Paloma Faith to Ricky Hatton, Professor Green and Romesh Ranganathan, countless British public figures have followed Stephens on his mission to change the way we talk about mental health.
The campaign, #IAMWHOLE, was initiated after research showed young people with real, diagnosable metal illnesses weren’t seeking help because the language surrounding their symptoms caused them shame or embarrassment.
In partnership with UNILAD for Mental Health Awareness Week earlier in 2018, the campaign offered support to a petition which called upon the government to improve services for children and adolescents, after it was found their plans were set to ‘fail a generation‘.
From exam stress to suicide ideation, Stephens is unafraid to talk openly:
Societal systems of power continue to let young people suffering poor mental health down at almost every turn. For example, half of the nation’s mental health problems are established before the sufferer turns 14, and 75 percent by the age of 24.
Yet three quarters of those young people who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
In fact, on average, a young person will wait a decade from the moment they suffer their first symptom of poor mental health to get any kind of treatment.
This is something of which the public figures taking part in Music 4 Mental Health are only too aware, and from their privileged position are coming together to try and ease their young fans’ experiences of poor mental health where possible.
27-year-old Ed is a committed supporter of the #IAMWHOLE campaign and has spoken candidly about his own mental health problems.
Undoubtedly, his own music has served as a creative outlet for those negative emotions.
Stephens, 26, added:
Music is a language that everyone understands and has the power to unite people from all walks and thoughts of life.
I can already feel the conversation opening up in regards to mental health so now it’s time to take action and really help people.
He concluded by proclaiming his excitement at ‘the chance at doing something amazing – and you can have front row seats.
If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58, and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone.
You can buy your tickets to see Music 4 Mental Health on Sunday 18 November at the Roundhouse online or from the official site here.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.