‘Years & Years’ frontman Olly Alexander opened up about his struggles with anxiety and depression, hoping to eradicate the stigma around mental illness and shed a light on the inadequate mental health services available in the UK.
This months GCN cover star, Olly Alexander sat down with The Guardian columnist, Owen Jones, to speak candidly about his struggles with anxiety and depression which lead to self harm and sleep paralysis. He revealed that his struggles began in childhood and only got worse into his teens when he realised that he didn’t fit in with his male peers.
“School was like a hostile place,” he recalled. “I just hated being at school. I think some people really thrive in that environment. I was a good student, but I just didn’t enjoy school. I found it really tough … If you’re not good at team sports, you’re fucked, and I definitely was not good at team sports.
“Being ‘a man’ is really important … Most of my close friends were girls and I didn’t feel like I identified in a way that you were supposed to as a guy.”
He added that things only got worse when he fell in love with his straight best friend in his early teens. “I was like, ‘Please let me not be gay! … I’ve got enough to deal with!’”
While the Years & Years is now in private treatment, the singer scolded the UK government for making cuts to mental health services, saying, “I care about mental health a lot. It’s affected me and my family a lot, and it annoys me there’s not enough provided and stuff has been cut where my family are from.
“When I started trying to get a counsellor on the NHS about 10 years ago, there was a six-week waiting list. And now, I’m told, it’s like three months – it can be – or longer.
“I think it’s like any other part of your body, your mental health, it gets sick and it needs treatment.”
Watch the full interview below:
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