Ask anyone, and they will agree that this past year has been one for the history books – and not for the right reasons.
While COVID-19 has left countless people feeling the physical effects of a deadly virus, its impact goes far beyond the human body, with many still dealing with related aspects, whether it be financial, professional, or even just related to leisure.
But while we grapple with lost opportunities, a “new normal”, and other ongoing effects, it’s often easy to overlook one of the most under appreciated aspects of life itself: mental health.
This is where Support Act’s Tune Ups series come into play, with its second season launching just this week. With eight episodes appearing across as many weeks, the series features the likes of country star Fanny Lumsden; multi-instrumentalist G Flip; hip-hop artists Ziggy Ramo and Barkaa; live music veteran Sahara Herald, Tour Director of Frontier Touring; and longtime roadie and CrewCare co-founder Howard “Weird” Freeman.
In the premiere episode of the season, Brendon Love of world-renowned Melbourne bluesy rock outfit The Teskey Brothers discusses his own experience with depression, and how recognising there was a problem was the first step towards finding a solution.
“Mental health for me has been something that has run in my family, and that I’ve always been aware of,” he explains in the start of the video. “It’s always been this kind of background hum.”
As Love explains, it was during a sold-out show at London’s Omeara in 2018 that let him know there was something going on in his life. On the surface, it was a stellar gig – the applause flowed freely and it was the sort of thing that most bands would consider a career highlight. For Love though, it was a struggle, and when he saw photos of himself after the fact, he realised that what he thought was kept inside was plain to see.
“It couldn’t have been a better gig objectively. But I just felt the worst I’ve ever felt in my life,” Love told Rolling Stone in 2020. “People were coming up to me after the show and saying, ‘Oh I loved that so much’ and being really lovely and sweet to me. But I was like, ‘Argh this is making it worse’.
“I don’t know what that is,” he added. “I think it’s maybe because you feel you don’t deserve it. You feel like a fraud or something.”
It was after this episode that Love began to seek answers. Confiding in manager Jeremy Furze, Love soon found himself able to look towards a treatment for this depression – something he had previously avoided for fear of being kicked out of the band.
“It almost felt like my ego was telling me it was a cop-out and it wouldn’t allow me to have an explanation,” he told Rolling Stone. “It was almost as if I felt like I deserved to feel like this. And so therefore any form of understanding was like met with a bit of resistance.”
As Furze notes in the new video, he has frequently held “open hearts” conversations with the band; discussions which allow the group to express their feelings in a safe, trusting environment in hopes of confronting any issues that may be bubbling under the surface.
As Love explains, it was this sort of discussion that allowed him to begin looking to the future, eventually calling Support Act on tour, utilising their resources, and ultimately getting onto a mental health plan with his GP and then into therapy.
“There are a lot of people that are dealing with [depression] that feel like they can’t speak out,” Love adds, “So helping people to feel comfortable to talk about it I think is a huge thing.”
In his interview with Rolling Stone last year, Love noted just how important it is to cut through the fruitless ways of dealing with mental health issues and rather face any problems head on, explaining how his own story has helped people face their own demons – something he’s been more than happy to lend a hand with himself.
“There is that sort of masculine, bravado thing where it’s like, ‘She’ll be right mate’,” he states. “That has such a penetrating effect in workforces and social groups. It creates a status quo.
“That’s just so destructive for so many reasons,” he asserts. “It’s important to bring this stuff to light and make people realise that it’s just so unbelievably common.”
Check out Brendon Love’s full video below, and be sure to check out Support Act for more information on how to access resources whenever you may need them.