31 Songs to Remind You That Struggling With Mental Health Doesn't Have to Be So Lonely
Struggling with your mental health, whatever that might look like for you, can feel isolating. It can seem particularly debilitating if you're convinced no one will understand what you're going through or feel that, quite frankly, no one cares. But people from all walks of life — celebrities, athletes, your friends and family members, strangers passing by on the street — might in fact be working through similar problems themselves. And it's not always apparent that someone is struggling, which means it's important to trust your instincts and reach out to those you think could benefit from it.
That's why we put together this playlist: to make sure you (and/or a loved one you can send this to) know that amid the uphill battle of finding clarity and stable ground, you are not alone. It tackles issues such as depression, anxiety, addiction, self-harm, and suicide, and it might connect with an experience from your past or even your present. And if these songs aren't your jam, you can listen to these uplifting hits meant to relieve your anxiety, melt your stress away, and warm your heart.
As Vanessa Hudgens told us in a past interview, listening to songs that match her mood and what she's experiencing, "makes me feel like someone else is going through it with me and makes me feel a little less alone." Keep reading to check out the full playlist, as well as a sneak peek of some of the songs and their messages.
Important note: If you're feeling anxious or depressed and need help finding help or resources, call the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (1-240-485-1001) or the National Alliance on Mental Illness (1-800-950-6264). And, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has several resources and a 24/7 lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
JoJo: "Save My Soul"
JoJo posted on Instagram back in 2016 that "Save My Soul" was inspired by her late father's death after complications from drug addiction. "I'm not mad at my dad. I love him and I'm sad. He is my greatest heartbreak. This song, which had always been personal to me, takes on even deeper meaning now. 'I try to run but it hurts every time I try . . . Lord I try and I can't say no.' Makes me think of the universal struggle of seeking victory over the feeling of powerlessness to a situation, a lover, a drug," she wrote. "Losing my father at the end of last year and knowing the propensity for addiction of all kinds that runs deep in my blood from both sides makes it next-level important for me to LIVE — not just be alive, but THRIVE in his honor. I can do this. And so can you."
Shawn Mendes: "In My Blood"
"In My Blood," Shawn told Billboard, details his first experience dealing with anxiety. "I think, to be honest, if you're gonna be talking about something that you're that vulnerable and is that close to you, you kind of have to go the whole way and be literal and say exactly how it felt and exactly how it looked. I'm really proud of it." The concept of the song, he said, is about feeling like you're on the verge of giving up "and then you don't." The song touches on something that Shawn said he thinks everyone goes through but isn't talked about enough.
Logic ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid: "1-800-273-8255"
Logic used the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number as this song's title on purpose. "In [this song] we hear a person at the end of their rope," Logic said. "We then hear words from the perspective of the Lifeline counselor who in turn gives them many reasons to keep fighting for their life. Finally, we hear the caller express their new lease on life and outlook on a life that they thought was over but had actually been far from it all along." According to statistics released by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, on the day that Logic's song was released, the Lifeline received the second-highest number of calls it had ever fielded.
Julia Michaels ft. Selena Gomez: "Anxiety"
Julia wrote a personal essay for Glamour discussing her battle with anxiety. She reflected: "Anxiety feels like an earthquake shaking your entire body and can last for minutes, hours, or sometimes days. It makes you feel like you were just in sunny California and teleported to winter in Chicago. It's a lot like that friend who says they're happy for you but secretly roots for you to fail. It's always waiting to ruin you and make you feel small. It's like you're in a prison with yourself, like there are a thousand bricks weighing your body down."
Paramore: "Fake Happy"
The lyrics in "Fake Happy" discuss, as the title suggests, putting on a brave face despite struggling internally. "I hate phoniness," lead singer Hayley Williams said in an interview with Beats 1. "It's not fun to be around, it's not fun to do yourself. But then there are these moments in your life where you're professional and you have to have grace with yourself, you have to have grace with other people and work hard, but it's that self-preservation thing."
Mabel: "OK (Anxiety Anthem)"
In an interview with Vogue, Mabel said that she became depressed as a teen and left school to study at home. "I wonder sometimes if it was extreme exhaustion from being really anxious," she admitted, adding that she views the depression she felt as "situational," but that anxiety is something she'll have to deal with longterm. "OK (Anxiety Anthem)" addresses that. "I'm not going to wake up one day and it's just going to be gone forever, and that's fine," she said.
Matchbox Twenty: "Unwell"
Lead singer Rob Thomas wrote on Genius.com that the idea behind this song came from not feeling comfortable in his own skin in the music industry. This discomfort "led me to having really crazy panic attacks and having to figure out a way to get all of that under control," he wrote. "Once I started to get older, once I started to grow up, the fabrication that I'd made of how comfortable I was and how secure I was in myself started to go away. I was left with the reality [that] I need to deal with how uncomfortable I am at all times, how unsure of myself I am, every word that comes out of my mouth, in every situation. 'Unwell' was the beginning of that for me."
Avril Lavigne: "Head Above Water"
Avril wrote "Head Above Water" when she was first struggling through Lyme disease, which she officially announced she'd been diagnosed with in 2015. A letter posted on her website read, "I spent the last few years at home sick fighting Lyme disease. Those were the worst years of my life as I went through both physical and emotional battles." She explained that "Head Above Water" was influenced by one of the "scariest" moments where "I had accepted death and could feel my body shutting down."