James Blake discussed depression and suicidal thoughts at PAMA symposium

“There are so many high-profile people recently who’ve taken their own lives. So we, I think, have a responsibility to talk about it and to remove the stigma.”

July 03, 2018
James Blake discussed depression and suicidal thoughts at PAMA symposium Lars Niki / Getty Images

Back in May, upon sharing his song "Don't Miss It," James Blake addressed his grievances with the term "sad boy," calling it an "unhealthy and problematic way to describe men." He pointed toward the "epidemic of male depression and suicide" in the note posted to Twitter. This past weekend, he expanded on those thoughts during the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA)'s annual symposium in Orange County, Billboard reports.

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During the panel “You Got This: Managing the Suicide Crisis in the Arts Population,” Blake attributed the difficulty of touring at a young age as a major factor in his depression. "Your connection to other people becomes surface level. So if you were only in town for one day and someone asked you how you are, you go into the good stuff…which generally doesn’t involve how anxious you feel [or] how depressed you feel...chemical imbalance due to diet and the deterioration of my health was a huge, huge factor in my depression and eventual suicidal thoughts."

Blake shot down the idea that mental health disorders are a necessary component of the creative process. “There is this myth that you have to be anxious to be creative, that you have to be depressed to be a genius. I can truly say that anxiety has never helped me create. And I’ve watched it destroy my friends’ creative process too.” During the panel, he credited EMDR therapy and his relationship with his girlfriend Jameela Jamil as being elemental to his recovery.

“We are the generation that’s watched several other generations of musicians turn to drugs and turn to excess and coping mechanisms that have destroyed them,” Blake said, “and there are so many high-profile people recently who’ve taken their own lives. So we, I think, have a responsibility to talk about it and to remove the stigma.”

James Blake discussed depression and suicidal thoughts at PAMA symposium