If you’re familiar with the work of Luke Rainsford, then you’ll know he’s not afraid to bare his soul. Whether it’s on his own or with emo pop-punk outfit Layover, Luke’s recent output is drenched in emotion as he copes with the loss of his mother and the aftermath.

Having released the heart-aching solo release, ‘I Just Don’t Deserve To Be Loved’, last month, Rainsford’s other band, Layover recently returned with ‘Your Laughter Never Leaves’. Joined by guitarist Dominic Cattell, bassist Elliot Walletton and drummer Brad Fisher, the Birmingham-based quartet have wiped the slate clean having gone on hiatus two years ago.

Now with a collectively cleaner and maturer mindset, Layover has produced a set of bold and upbeat emo songs with an accessible pop-punk core. Taking on topics such as mental health, loss, and sensitively, the four-piece have served up a compelling EP in ‘Your Laughter Never Leaves’.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Layover‘s Luke Rainsford has penned a guest blog to discuss how music has given him an outlet to express himself, and the difficulties having mental health issues can have on simple tasks.

Every year, Mental Health Awareness Week does some amazing things in making people wise up to some of the things going on to people who suffer from mental health conditions. A lot of amazing people, such as Heads Above The Waves, put a lot of hard work into trying to help people who suffer from anything such as depression or anxiety. This is incredible, and I’m personally so thankful for all they do, and I try and do my little bit as well, but why is it that people only seem to properly understand and care about it every time it’s a celebrity or famous person suffering?

I’ve had times in my life where my depression has become really bad. I’ve made attempts on my life before, and it’s interesting to see the same people I approached for help suddenly switch and become very publicly outspoken about the dangers of mental health, only to fizzle out again once the celebrity news has subsided. These are real and dangerous issues that are affecting everyone, regardless of how well known the person is, and it’s interesting how fickle some people’s support of it can be.

Touring and organizing anything musical is extremely difficult with any form of mental illness. Even basic tasks, such as replying to emails, or taking care of yourself enough to put on a decent show can be huge daunting challenges. Whenever artists on greater platforms have to pull tours or shows because of their mental health, people (thankfully) are mostly so understanding and send so much support and nice messages. It’s interesting how that switches when it’s somebody like me, a much smaller artist, or day to day people, who instead seem to take the brunt of people’s aggression and misunderstanding of how mental illnesses can affect people.

With every song I write and every show I play, I try and make everything I go through seem that little bit more easy to understand for people. I try and talk openly about my mental health at shows, and I’m very lucky to have had people approach me and tell me about how much this has helped them through their own struggles. I feel as though this is amazing, and it just shows how many people are struggling. I’m only a small artist, and most shows I’m a part of are only small crowds, yet at 95% of shows, at least one person will want to talk to me about their own mental health after hearing what I talk about. Surely this shows just how many people are affected, and how it’s important that people are wiser to it in their own lives, rather than just jumping on the bandwagon whenever a person whose name they recognize takes their life. You never know when that might be a friend or that stranger on the internet you were rude to for no reason.

I can only really speak for my depression, which makes me incredibly unmotivated to do pretty much anything, even playing music. Music is an incredible outlet for me – it means I can take any traumas from my past, and speak openly about what’s going on in my head, and put it in a form that other people can hear, understand, and do what they want with. To me, that is the most beautiful thing in the world. Yet my mental illness makes it so difficult to do every day, and more often than not, I’m approached with “why has it taken so long for my t-shirt to ship”, and many times I’m replying to emails or messages with “sorry I missed this”, which is my way of saying “I’ve been having a bad week and dealing with anything remotely mentally challenging is too much for me right now”. I know so many other people who work in the industry who also struggle with this.

I’m not trying to make myself out as a victim, I just wanted to speak more openly about how despite music being my favourite thing in the world, it can be a real challenge. I’m very lucky to have people in my life, and in the various teams I work with, who are extremely understanding and very patient with me and will support me in ways I’m incredibly thankful for.

I’m not the best at organizing my thoughts into words at all, so I hope this hasn’t been too much rambling and has made sense to at least one person. To sum up: so many people suffer with their mental health every day, and it’s unfair to only support them when these issues become big talking points. Everyone who suffers deserves support from their friends, families, colleagues and everyone in their life – and you’d be surprised how much little acts of kindness can make everything feel so much easier to deal with.

‘Your Laughter Never Leaves’ EP  by Layover is available now on Fox Records.

Layover links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Bandcamp

‘I Just Don’t Deserve To Be Loved’ EP by Luke Rainsford out now on Scylla Records.

Luke Rainsford links: Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

About Mental Health Awareness Week

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, this year for Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) they focussing on stress saying “Research has shown that two-thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, and stress is a key factor in this.”

Further information on Mental Health Awareness Week can be found here.

About Heads Above The Waves

Heads Above The Waves is a not-for-profit organisation that raises awareness of depression and self-harm in young people.

Heads Above The Waves links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

If you, or someone you know, have been affected by mental health issues, the following organisations may be able to help.

Help Musicians | Facebook | Twitter

Samaritans: | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Mind: | Facebook | Twitter

Music Support: | Twitter | Instagram

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