Max from You Me At Six shares how he looks after his mental health
We chatted with Max, guitarist for world-famous band You Me At Six, about how he looks after his mental health, why talking is so important, and the advice he’d give his younger self.
We sat down for a chat with Max, guitarist for the hugely successful rock band You Me At Six, to discuss how he looks after his mental health, why talking about your mental health is so important, and what advice he’d give his younger self.
Your music explores some difficult feelings and emotions. Does being able to express yourself through music help your mental health and how?
I always find that music has been a great way to express myself, either good or bad. When writing a song, I always try to capture the feeling or mood that I'm in, and then relay that over to the other band members so they can envision with their own perspective.
I find it helps me with my mental health because music is really the way I do my talking, so once I have created something that summarises the way I'm feeling that day, I get a great release from listening back and feeling a sense of accomplishment.
Why do you think it's important to talk about your mental health?
I find it incredibly important to talk about my mental health with my family and close friends. One thing I get from it is a new perspective and a way of thinking that maybe I hadn’t thought of myself, and it gives me time to reflect on what has been said.
I also find it really helpful to be open and clear about my mental state to those around me because the way you feel can be quite obvious in how you react to things, which in turn may give someone the wrong impression of something, and they can think you are being rude for no reason. If you are honest and clear about what's going on personally, people will be more likely to get an understanding for the way you have acted without rushing into thinking you are being difficult for no reason.
How do you look after your mental health and where do you seek support when you need it?
Exercise has been something that has really helped me over the past year. I've gone through quite a lot emotionally and found this gave me such a great release of endorphins that sets me up positively for the day. You don't have to go full tilt as well! I’ve been a big runner but found it's starting to cause pains in my shins and hips from the impact, so I’ve changed running to doing a big walk. Taking in scenery, fresh air, and looking around and enjoying what is all around you is really important. I’ve taken these things for granted before but with this new outlook I have now, I've noticed that I have become a lot more positive and enjoy things way more.
When I am struggling at times I try to do something that gives me a feeling of accomplishment, even if it's small things like cleaning the house or a short activity. After doing these things if I'm still struggling, I will always talk to someone close to me, and be open and honest, whether that's a family member or a close friend who I can trust talking to.
Do you have any tips for supporting a friend who’s struggling with their mental health?
The most important thing I would say is give them a chance to speak and listen to them. Sometimes it's not about what you think is the right thing for them to do, but actually giving them a safe space to talk, which gives them a chance to release the energy they have about something. Quite a lot of the time, that is all it takes to bounce back when you aren't feeling good about things.
If they ask you what you think, always try and be mindful about how you answer as you don't want to push them in a certain direction, but be positive and find ways to encourage them to be happy.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
It would be to start doing more regular exercise earlier in life. I have found this to be a great tool to combat my feelings when I have bad days mentally. Most likely after every time I exercise I feel amazing and have such a sense of accomplishment and joy.
Do you have any advice for a young person that wants to break into the music industry?
My advice would be to really enjoy and love what you do in music, if that's being a performer, a producer, working at record labels etc. I started a music career because I fully love music and I’m totally invested in doing what I do, but it’s definitely a difficult industry to be in, but my passion reminds me of why I do it when things are tough.
Where to get help
For information, tips and advice, as well as suggestions on where to get help for your mental health, have a look at our find help page.