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While Christmas is traditionally a time of joy, family and celebration, for many it is a personal struggle through what can be one of the loneliest times of the year. With self-harm, alcoholism and suicides at an all-time high, the festive season can often becoming a troubling experience for those who suffer with depression, with the high-spirits of others only serving to highlight personal issues that seem magnified over the holidays. ‘Amid pressures to be ‘merry’ and ‘happy,’ nearly half of men admit that they actually feel depressed or sad over Christmas, a study by the Samaritans has revealed,’ claimed a 2014 article published in the Independent. ‘Around thirty-seven per cent say they feel lonely during a time that is traditionally spent with friends and family and thirty per cent say they are stressed and anxious due to relationship and financial difficulties.’
Each year the Samaritans, who over the last sixty years has dedicated its resources to providing support for those coping with sadness and anxiety, receives an increase in phone calls from those struggling to cope with the additional pressures of the Christmas season. ‘More than forty-five per cent of men who responded to a survey by Samaritans said they felt more worried at Christmas than other times of the year,’ revealed the organisation following an online study conduced two years ago. ‘The findings come with a reminder that volunteers from the charity’s two hundred and one branches will be available round the clock over the festive period, for anyone who needs to talk.’
In an effort to raise awareness for those suffering over Christmas, Wildhearts frontman Ginger has joined forces with fellow musician Ryan Hamilton on a new charity single entitled Fuck You Brain, an energetic punk track that conveys a positive message of overcoming the overwhelming pull of depression. Avoiding the usual festival cliches of sleigh bells and references to Santa Claus, the song instead declares that ‘If you hold me up I’ll do the same for you.’
Regarding Fucking You Brain, Ginger says, ‘Ironically I struggled even getting to the studio to record my parts for this single, deep as was in my current battle with depression. The same attack that almost killed me a week ago. My depression wants me dead. So far I’m winning on weight advantage, but the battle is never over. This is a very vulnerable time of year for sufferers of mental health issues and suicide sees a marked increase over Christmas and New Year. So the help provided by the Samaritans is invaluable, especially over this period.’Co-writer Hamilton concurs, ‘Ginger and I have both been very vocal about our struggles with depression and anxiety. Mental health issues like these deserve much more attention and respect, than they get. After we wrote Fuck You, Brain we weren’t quite sure what to do with it. Ginger had the idea to use it as a charity single, and asked if I was ok with that. I couldn’t say ‘YES!’ fast enough. I hope everyone enjoys the new music and fun collaboration. I also sincerely hope we can raise a good deal of money to raise awareness and do some good, for an issue very important to us.’
Ginger adds, ‘Obviously severe depression is not seasonal, but the reminder that you yourself are ‘not doing so bad’ is reinforced over this festive holiday. If you have a healthy family, loved ones who are safe, a warm home, a job and a hot meal staring at you at some point, then you are doing better than many people this Xmas. To simply say ‘thank you’ for what you have, please donate for those suffering from suicidal thoughts, struggling with depression/anxiety, or for those helping such a person through this holiday period.’
Those who suffer from depression or anxiety and require support can contact the Samaritans on +44 (0)3709 00 00 32 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fuck You Brain can be purchased via Bandcamp. All proceeds will be donated to the Samaritans to assist those in need throughout the Christmas holidays. Direct donations to the Samaritans can be made via their official website.