- 25 Oct 22
Bressie on the need to calm things down and why prevention is always better than cure.
Musician /Author/ Mental Health Advocate
If you look at our health system, it’s not a health system; it’s a sick system. It waits for us to get sick before it intervenes. It’s a point-of-crisis model for mental and physical health. What we do know within mental health is that the preventative model of care is where we need to be aiming. Nobody gets very, very sick overnight; it tends to be internalised pain and repressed pain that we carry for months, or years, and that starts to become a problem. So, we have to intervene early. No matter what health model we create, the preventative model of care is more humanly supportive – but also even more economically effective.
The idea of the organisation Minding Creative Minds is: you’re having a fucking shit week and you’re not quite sure how to respond to it – don’t let next week be a shit week. Deal with it. The sessions are effective and you’re working with professionals: they’ve heard everything, they’ll never judge you, they know what they’re doing – and I think that’s really important.
In our health system we have amazing people, fucking amazing psychologists, who just unfortunately don’t get to do their jobs – because by the time you get to them you’ve been two years waiting for the fuckers. It’s just not a good model.
Our medical model says: “I just don’t want to deal with you so let’s numb the fucking pain.” The first question that should be asked of you when you walk in the door with a mental health issue is not “what’s wrong with you?” it’s “what happened to you?” Don’t get me wrong, the medical model is required – but when the first protocol every single time a 15-year-old teenage girl walks into a room with anxiety is “let’s medicate her” – that’s not a health system, that’s just “I can’t deal with your shit so we’re just going to numb it.”
Why I think Minding Creative Minds is so powerful is because it’s a therapeutic model; it’s “Let’s get you through this, let’s deal with this, let’s figure out if we need more help.” And maybe we need medication – but it’s not the only option. That’s why psychology and psychotherapy are so bloody important when it comes to mental health.
I don’t shove mindfulness down people’s throats – it’s not for everybody. But what I’ve learned in my life is that; if I can actually learn, first and foremost, that I’m not losing my mind, this is a healthy human reaction to what I’m going through. What I did was to bring this kind of education and knowledge and experience and channel it into the 1,500 podcasts I put out during lockdown. They were translated into 14 different languages all over the world and I recorded them in my mum’s spare room with a duvet over my head. It was just me talking to people and going, “This is mad isn’t it? Let’s figure out what we can do.”
I obviously talk a lot about meditation, but we need to understand what meditation is. The reason we all feel anxious is because we’re so rattled and rudderless in a world that’s trying to pull our attention in 40 different directions. I’m trying to get people to understand that the ability to drop into yourself a little bit and not be terrified of that is important.
Of course, there are often times when meditation alone isn’t the answer – you need psychological help and to talk through your shit. For example: grief. Grief is torturous. Just because I fucking burn incense and tell you to start focusing on your breath, it’s not going to make that any easier. Some things we have to experience in life and feel. And that’s what I wanted to do with my podcast, Wake Up/Wind Down.
The biggest thing was to help people sleep. I always knew my voice would make people sleep one day, and that’s what it was. People kept reaching out to me and going, “I cannot sleep in this pandemic. I have all this energy, I feel anxious all the time, my head is racing.”
I was like, “Cool, every night at 9 o’clock I’ll do a meditation, so we’ll get you a little bit less overwhelmed and it just took off. It was number one in America – these people there listening to some lad in his mum’s spare room using his fucking old duvet for acoustics! So now you know!
Read the full Hot Press Mental Health Special in the new issue, out now.