- 05 Oct 21
As child mental health declines under the Covid-19 pandemic, indie-pop star Arlo Parks reflects on the lack of accessibility to adequate services.
The English singer-songwriter and poet known for her candid lyrics - which often touch on vulnerable struggles - has added her voice to the call for improved mental health support.
The comment comes as part of UNICEF ‘State of the World’ report published today, which assesses in detail the mental health issues faced by children around the globe. The 21-year-old, whose debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams took the world by storm earlier this year, was one of the contributors to the humanitarian organisation's yearly publication.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about the mental health of a generation of children. But the pandemic may represent the tip of a mental health iceberg – an iceberg we have ignored for far too long," the report states, as it calls for greater commitment, communication, and action in providing accessible mental healthcare for children, teens, and caregivers around the world.
Londoner Arlo opens up about her own experience with mental health in the report. "I have lost friends to mental illness and watched them drown in an inky pit of darkness. I have also seen friends blossom and navigate their way towards the light with professional help and a loving, attentive support system," the Mercury Prize winner comments.
"A mind filled with shame cannot grow and that is why I believe that deconstructing stigma, making mental health support accessible and building structures to support people, in particular vulnerable and marginalised groups, is essential.
"Queerness in particular should not mean guilt, it should not mean other.'' the artist continued. ''We must check up on each other, stand up for each other and banish shame from our vocabulary." The idea of solidarity is one of the artist's central motifs, clearly displayed in her somber yet upbeat hit 'Hope'.
The comment comes as the artist issues an open call with her contest 'Arlo’s Art Therapy' encouraging people to explore the healing power of art. A few select pieces submitted will be flypostered around London, Manchester and Bristol while the artist tours each respective city.
Parks is also set to perform in Dublin at The Academy on Sunday, October 31st.
Revisit our January 2021 interview with Arlo Parks here.