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George Ezra: Creative people are prone to mental health struggles

The Budapest singer-songwriter and Brits boss Jason Iley were at the presentation of cash donations to charities on Tuesday.

George Ezra has said he would “love” to speak to prominent mental health campaigners the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry about how musicians struggle with issues around mental health.

The singer-songwriter, 25, attended a presentation which saw the Brit Awards give a cheque for £250,000 to two charities and to the Brit School for Performing Arts and Technology to promote mental health awareness in schools and the music industry.

At the event, held at The Brit School in Croydon, south London, Ezra said in a speech that he became involved with the mental health charity Mind, one of the beneficiaries of the donations, to find out how he could help people close to him who were experiencing mental health issues.

The Budapest singer said: “Creative people are prone to experiencing these things more.

Mind, Music Support and The BRIT School BRITs Cheque presentation
The Brits 2018 Mind, Music Support and The Brit School cheque presentation at The Brit School (John Marshall/JM Enternational)

“That’s not to belittle anybody else. No matter what you do, these things can arise and be a part of your life.

“But, from my own experience, a creative mind can be a beautiful thing but also a pain in the arse!”

Mind has received £200,000 of the pledged total as part of a new partnership with the Brits to support the rollout of a new mental health support model in a selection of secondary schools across England and Wales.

The Brit School, a non-fee paying state school known for its famous alumni including Adele, Amy Winehouse and Katie Melua, will be one of the institutions where Mind’s Whole School Approach scheme will be launched in September.

It has also been given £25,000 to support mental well-being and special needs work.

The same amount has also been donated to Music Support, a music industry addictions and mental health charity of which singer Robbie Williams is a patron.

The funds were raised by the awards ceremony which took place in February at the O2 Arena in London, and were presented by Ezra and Brits chairman Jason Iley.

Ezra told the Press Association about his own experiences with mental health and said he had not foreseen some of the aspects that come with a career in music.

He said: “As a kid, the idea of playing on a stage was a dream. That idea I loved.

“I never considered the idea of people knowing who I was, wanting my opinion on things, knowing what I’ve done. That took me a second to consider, all these bits that come with it.

Royal opening of the Greenhouse Centre
The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry have helped raise awareness of mental health issues (Toby Melville/PA)

“People are just obsessed with celebrity culture and music comes into that.”

Ezra also said he would welcome the chance to speak to the princes about mental health in the music industry.

“I didn’t grow up in a family that was interested in the royal family, but I think it is amazing that they have stood up and spoken about mental health,” he said.

“I know there are a lot of people who listen to them and that’s brilliant.

“And with their ties to the armed forces, hopefully it will get people in that field speaking about mental health more.

“If they would be interested to sit down and talk about music, I would love that.”

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