It's OK To Say: St Albans band release music video encouraging men to open up about their feelings

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 July 2019

The video for The Maida Vales' new song I Want You tackles the stigma around men's mental health and how relationships can turn toxic. Picture: Kriz-P

The video for The Maida Vales' new song I Want You tackles the stigma around men's mental health and how relationships can turn toxic. Picture: Kriz-P

Kriz-p

A St Albans band is exploring psychological abuse and men's mental health with their new music video.

The video for The Maida Vales' new track I Want You tells the story of a man who gets into a relationship and is initially happy and in love.

However, the black and white film - shot by Ed Palmer - shows their connection turn toxic and the girlfriend turn mentally abusive.

It follows the launch of the It's OK To Say campaign last year, which was founded by leading anxiety specialist Stacey Turner alongside the Herts Ad.

It's OK To Say aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and breakdown stigmas surrounding them, as well as urging people to speak up and seek help if required.

Lead singer and co-song writer of The Maida Vales, Paul Littler, said he wanted to shine a spotlight on this issue after experiencing an unhealthy relationship himself.

He said: "Everyone was telling me that this girl was toxic, but I was besotted and so into her that it was only afterwards I realised she made me feel so bad.

"Talking about it took the weight off my shoulders - the first people I spoke to were my parents and that took the pressure off. The immediate response that men are worried about is people saying 'man up'."

Paul is particularly encouraging men to open up about their feelings, as he believes societal expectations of masculinity can cause anxiety about being vulnerable.

"It made me start to think about it and I am sure I am not the only one, there must be millions out there in a similar situation," he said. "We are trying to make them open up, saying you can and should speak about it because it is healthy."

According to 2017 UK statistics from suicide prevention charity Samaritans, men in the UK were three times as likely to take their own lives than women and the highest suicide rate was for men aged 45 to 49.

Figures from the Mental Health Foundation show suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20 to 49 in England and Wales.

It also says that between 2003 and 2013, 18,220 people with mental health problems took their own life in the UK.

Paul said: "Both men and women should feel free and able to speak openly about their feelings without being ridiculed for being 'less of a man or woman' or 'weak'.

"If anything, we want to rewire the way society sees mental fitness, especially in males, and actively encourage men to speak openly about their emotions."

The Maida Vales are a four-piece indie rock and roll band who have been making music for about a year and a half.

Other band members are lead guitarist and co-song writer Matteo Cervellin, bassist Kelpie McKenzie, and drummer and backing vocalist Ollie Dixon.

It's OK To Say campaign leader Stacey Turner said: "I am always looking for creative ways and various avenues to inspire and show our community that feeling, opening up about what's going on, and wrapping ourselves in support is OK and in fact should be considered normal through It's OK To Say.

"Seeing a band inspiring men through lyrics and music is incredible and I can't wait to hear them.

"Music is therapy within itself with benefits such as helping to take the mind off physical pain. It is successfully used to help patients with stress and mental illness, speech impediment, high blood pressure and heart problems.

"Really fantastic stuff, nobody should be afraid to say!"

A launch party for I Want You, their third studio single, will take place at The Horn tonight, Thursday July 25, from 7.30pm.

There will be live performances from the band and local support acts, alongside a big screen viewing of the music video, at the free evening.

Since the band's debut release in March last year, Sunday Morning, they have enjoyed more than 200,000 listeners on their social pages.

Find out more about The Maida Vales, who are currently working on their debut four track EP with producer Pat Collier, at www.themaidavales.com

Follow the It's OK To Say campaign on Facebook, Instagram @its_ok_to_say, and Twitter @ItsOKToSayUK.

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