[Photo by: Jeff Forney]

Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows is speaking out on mental health, detailing his time spent battling depression and highlighting the need for understanding in face of the stigma surrounding mental health care.

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Speaking to NME, the A7X lead vocalist empathizes with those enduring the everyday anguish of major depression. While emphasizing that everyone's mental health situation is different, the musician stresses the importance in offering a helping hand to those who are under the weight of depression.

“The stigma is disheartening,” Shadows says, “because everyone on this planet goes through things at one point or another, so we just have to be there for each other. Some people will have darker situations that they can't pull themselves out of, and they need people or they need help with some sort of medication, something they can do or someone they can talk [to].”

Shadows opens up about his own mental health, recalling a mutli-year period when he faced clinical depression and sought professional help.

“I went through about three years when I couldn't do anything,” Shadows says of his own struggle. “So I went to go talk to someone, and it was the hardest three years of my life.” The musician says he knows the importance of mental health from the inside: “I know how desperate it is and how dark and terrible it is,” he says, adding, “All I can say to people who don't think depression is a real thing, or say, 'Just suck it up and get over it'—they just really have no idea.”

Shadows says we all should attempt to “put [ourselves] in somebody else's shoes” when it comes to walking the road of depression and striving for a better mental health outlook, underlining the significance in helping others.

“Those who are not very good at understanding mental health issues are not going to know what other people are going through in depression,” says Shadows. “You have to kind of put yourself in somebody else's shoes. It takes a lot of work from all of us to understand where people are coming from, and then do the best to help them because it's just too important.”

“We're going to lose too many people if we don't do something about it.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, there is help to be found. Please consider these online resources and talk to your regular doctor about your symptoms:
MentalHealth.gov – Get Immediate Help
ImAlive – Online Crisis Network
International Association For Suicide Prevention – Resources
The Anxiety And Depression Association Of America
The National Alliance On Mental Illness
American Psychiatric Association – Finding Help
National Institute Of Mental Health
American Psychological Association – Psychologist Locator

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