Talking to friends about their mental health might feel awkward, but it shouldn’t be, according to fast-rising pop star Billie Eilish.
The 17-year-old singer opened up about her mental health journey and encouraged others to do the same in a new public service announcement for the Ad Council. Her partnership with the Seize the Awkward campaign aims to empower young adults to get involved if they suspect a friend might be dealing with mental health issues — even if it feels uncomfortable at first.
“I think when people hear, ‘Remember to take care of your mental health,’ they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate,” the “Ocean Eyes” singer said in the clip, which was posted Wednesday. “You know, for me I’m trying to learn still to make sure that I stay OK.”
Eilish’s music addresses death and depression, and the young star has spoken candidly about her own bouts of depression and night terrors in interviews.
“It doesn’t make you weak to ask for help. It doesn’t. It doesn’t make you weak to ask for a friend to go to a therapist. It shouldn’t make you feel weak to ask anyone for help,” she said in the PSA.
Eilish encouraged her fans to start conversations by simply asking “How are you feeling?” and to keep their ears open, listen and give love and comfort to those in need.
According to the Seize the Awkward campaign, friends of those struggling with mental health issues “can be incredibly influential in helping them get the help that they need when they need it.”
The campaign, a partnership among the Ad Council, the Jed Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, notes that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young adults and that 76% of young adults will turn to a peer for support in a time of crisis.
“This generation is ready to crack open the cultural conversation about mental health, but they’re missing the language or confidence to do it,” a statement from the organizations said.