THE FOUNDER of one of the UK’s leading music platforms has joined forces with suicide awareness charity CALM to help break taboos surrounding men’s mental health.
Jamal Edwards MBE, 26, says he believes it’s his duty to speak up about the issue and raise awareness about it and show “people they’re not alone” via SB.TV.
“I felt I had a responsibility to use my platform,” he said.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK and equate to three in four suicide cases. Jamal, who was awarded an MBE for his services to music in 2015, said he wants to use his position to help encourage open and honest dialogue about it.
In a video published on The Guardian website, Jamal meets up with some of his friends “from all different backgrounds who have come across mental health”.
“They’ve been a positive influence on my life too,” he added.
According to research, many men do not recognise, acknowledge or seek help for their depression with 48 per cent of men with mental health concerns say they are ashamed or embarrassed.
Through SBTV, Jamal says he was able to share the message via rapper and friend Rapman, who is says was “one of the first people to help me spread the message” through his song, Rollercoaster, which shows a man’s struggle with mental health following the breakdown of a relationship.
“It really sort of opened the door to people messaging me and messaging him asking for advice or telling us problems that they’re going through. I always have to let them know that I have an ear for them.
“Everyone goes through their ups and downs,” Jamal says. “I learned, as the years have gone past, to talk to people. I have a close network of people that I feel I can talk to whenever anything is going wrong. I know it’s difficult and it took me a lot of time to get into that mind set, but I feel much better for it.”
Jamal was a teenager when he decided to launch youth broadcasting and production film SB.TV to upload clips he recorded of his friends performing on the estate where he lived in Acton, west London.
Less than a decade later, was worth around £8m.
He has also worked with the likes of Jessie J and Emeli Sande as well as Ed Sheeran.