Singer Simon Webbe has talked about the need to break down the stigmas surrounding mental health and suicide following his brother’s death.
The former member of boy band Blue says he has recently returned to using social media to talk about mental health following the death of his brother, Straon.
Simon, 40, who has spoken about his own depression earlier this decade, said: “I've actually been off social media until recently because I sadly lost my brother to suicide almost two months ago.
“It is something that is taboo. It's taught me that people just need to be honest about what they need personally.
“We need to stop being afraid and stop looking for validation. We need to ask people if they are actually okay, start healing and accept who we are, the troubles that we have and talk about it,” he told OK! Magazine.
Listening is key
Simon shared a photo of Straon on his Instagram account and wrote an accompanying tribute to his brother.
“It's 2019 and I feel this is a year where we should be thankful, stop searching for perfection cause you will never find it,” Simon wrote.
“I lost my brother Straon to suicide while I was working in Bradford! He was someone I thought I'd see again and hurts me deep that people, like myself struggle everyday with mental health issues.
“It's taboo and needs to be brought to the forefront, we can all start by asking someone, anyone close to you 'how are you really feeling' after that the key is to listen.
“Can we start there?
“I'm back on socials and will support the #mentalhealth movement as I always have. Please be brave and talk!!!!”
Strictly Come Dancing
In 2014 Simon revealed his own battle with depression before he took part in Strictly Come Dancing.
He said that he drank a bottle of brandy a day after a reunion tour with Blue finished and property losses forced him to declare bankruptcy in 2013, before turning to band-mates Lee Ryan, Duncan James and Antony Costa for help.
“I didn't leave the house for weeks on end except to buy bread or milk,” he told the Daily Mirror. “I hated who I was and started questioning my whole life. I was really depressed.
“I never attempted suicide but I thought about it. I turned mirrors round so I didn't have to look at myself. I didn't want to be here, didn't want to be a part of anything. I wanted to black out.
“I said to the boys, 'I need to talk to you'. I said I didn't want to be here anymore.
“I didn't feel myself. And they were there for me. Lee was saying, 'Something good is going to happen to you - I can feel it'. A few weeks later I got the call from Strictly and everything changed.”
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