Ash frontman Tim Wheeler: ‘Suicide does not discriminate - if you are feeling low, seek help’

Tim Wheeler was speaking as Ash prepare to perform at BBC's Biggest Weekend Festival in Belfast on Saturday
Tim Wheeler was speaking as Ash prepare to perform at BBC's Biggest Weekend Festival in Belfast on Saturday

Tim Wheeler urges fans to open up about mental health

Following the tragic death of founding member and singer-songwriter of indie-rock group, Frightened Rabbit Scott Hutchison earlier this month by suicide, Tim Wheeler has passionately urged anyone suffering from ill-mental health, anxiety or depression to seek help and support.

Tim Wheeler, frontman of NI music heroes Ash

Tim Wheeler, frontman of NI music heroes Ash

Scott, 36, suffered from serious mental health issues but fought hard to work with fellow singers and musicians to raise awareness of such problems.

Hutchison, who was due to lead Frightened Rabbit at the Meltdown Festival on London’s South Bank next month, never hid the fact that he suffered from depression but would reassure fans who contacted him about their anxieties via social media that “there’s always hope”.

“I would absolutely encourage fans to open up and talk if they are feeling down”, he said emphatically. “Our drummer Rick McMurray was friends with Scott, and is so devastated by the recent events.

“There are so many situations where someone takes their own life where no-one realised they were feeling that bad and so low.

“I think the music industry does have quite a high incidence in terms of dealing with depression. I think part of the attraction of music is that it is therapeutic for those people going through anything and struggling with mental health. It is just so important though, to open up.”

Reflecting on high-profile deaths by suicide in the music industry, a sombre Tim explains, “I think part of having an artistic temperment means you could well be prone to depression and I guess a lot of people use music as their outlet.

“Even in Bruce Springsteen’s recent autobiography, he revealed a lot about his battles with depression, and that is someone who is one of the most successful musicians ever, so it seems like a surprise to hear that - but suicide doesn’t discriminate.

“Please open up to someone, anyone, seek help if you are feeling down.”

Suicide is preventable.

If you or someone you know is struggling, get help by contacting the Samaritans at 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI). The Samaritans is free to call and available 24 hours a day.