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Discussing mental illness can be extremely difficult. As a victim it can be impossible to describe how you feel.  As the friend or partner of a victim it can be hard to choose your words sensitively. It is in situations like this where sometimes only artists have the power to express what we mean beyond words alone.

Don Mclean – Vincent

A tribute to Vincent van Gough who’s long battle with mental illness ended in his suicide. Van Gough’s genius was only recognised after his death. This song reached number one in the UK.

John Martyn – Solid Air

Written in support of a friend who suffered what Martyn described as “a nervous breakdown”.

Pink Floyd –  Shine on you crazy Diamond

A tribute to former frontman Syd Barrett who left the band while reportedly struggling with schizophrenia.

Pixies – Where is my mind

Supposedly inspired by Francis’s experiences scuba-diving. It was also featured in the soundtrack to fightclub.

James Taylor – Fire and Rain

The first part of the song deals with the suicide of his childhood friend Suzanne Schnerr. Later Taylor describes his own battle with depression.

Nirvana – Lithium

Cobain suffered from bipolar disorder, lithium is commonly used to treat it

Johnny Cash – Hurt

Written by Nine Inch Nails (I much prefer this version). The song confronts living with depression and self harm.

Please add any songs that spring to mind in the comments!

Featured image accredited to Kip Dudden

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