Mental illness used to be a topic that was deemed taboo, even in music. Recently, the discussion of it has shifted, allowing musicians to openly discuss their disorders. Heartbreak and general despair are nothing new to indie rock and punk music, from Japandroids to The Smiths. However, a new generation of artists and bands like Jeff Rosenstock, Modern Baseball, Speedy Ortiz, Sorority Noise, Camp Cope, and Los Campesinos! offer up something different — themselves. Their music allows fans who are grappling with mental disorders to feel like they’re not alone in their struggles. Being surrounded by people who share similar experiences with those disorders creates a community that acts as a support group, allowing the lines to be blurred between “musician” and “fan.”
Two years ago, I introduced my 17-year-old brother to many of these bands — others he found on his own via Tumblr. At the time, I didn’t know how much of an impact they would have on him. He suffers from both anxiety and depression, which I also have. Throughout my teen years, I didn’t have many bands to choose from that could help me cope with such disorders. Through him, I’ve learned how important it is to have bands and artists help you feel like you’re not alone in those struggles.