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Q&A: Ginger Wildheart

With a tour scrapped and admission to The Priory, the Britrocker’s most important venture begins – beating depression.

On December 8, 2015, Hey! Hello!, the band formed by Ginger Wildheart, announced that that they would be postponing their UK tour scheduled for later that month.

Rather than gloss over the reasons, Ginger made no attempt to disguise what the problem was: severe depression. To the point where his wife and manager, Jane, sent him to The Priory for treatment.

In an industry where such matters usually come cloaked in euphemism, this level of frankness is as unusual as it is refreshing. Then again, Ginger is the perfect poster-boy-cum-pioneer for this kind of cause. Often troubled, highly talented, never flinching, ask the voluble Geordie a question even about a subject as personal and usually as private as this, and he will answer it.

Why did you decide to reveal the fact that you have battles with mental health?

Well, I still remember the days when people didn’t admit that they were gay. I always thought that was so ridiculous. And when people started coming out of the closet the issue began to be de-stygmatised. It was the first step in educating people about it. Obviously depression is also a big subject, and people don’t know much about it… but it’s really important that people who are in some kind of public position, where people are listening to them, do open up about it so that people better understand what this thing is.

And what is it?

Well it’s certainly not feeling glum. It’s a physical condition as well as a mental condition; your neuro-transmitters aren’t transmitting. But it’s such a loaded subject, and I thought that the best thing I could was to let people know that it’s okay to talk about it. It is a disease, it does kill; in fact it kills more people each year than cancer. Everyone is fine talking about cancer – and so they should be – but cancer has all these charities that fund research, yet mental health gets no research funding from the government. It’s an absolute crime.

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