SHAED Unmask Their Struggles with Mental Health

Image courtesy of Sound Mind

The band is featured in the first video in a series from Sound Mind that aims to eliminate the stigma around mental well being in the music industry.

When COVID-19 shut the music world down, the band SHAED took refuge with each other. The electro-pop trio best known for their 2018 breakout hit “Trampoline” had spent the last few years on a whirlwind of tours and appearances, jumping from city to city. They were too busy to cope with the mental exhaustion that was slowly overwhelming them. When the pandemic brought that to a halt, the band found themselves sitting still for the first time in years and started to reckon with their mental health.

"We have always battled some level of anxiety and depression, but nothing compares to the emotional rollercoaster we have been on this past year,” SHAED explains. “Like many, our whole world came to a screeching halt and it seemed like there was no end in sight.” That stillness allowed Chelsea Lee and brothers Max and Spencer Ernst to focus on being open and honest about what they were struggling with on a personal and collective basis. “For the first time, our mental health reached a critical point that forced us to seek out help,” says Lee. “Through therapy, meditation, mindfulness, and the support of loved ones, we learned so much about ourselves and our capacity to thrive in the harshest of conditions.”

Their perspective shift also led them to participate in Sound Mind’s Unmasked video series. Each video features an artist sharing their mental health journey, opening up about the toll touring and recording can take. Unmasked is focused on creating an open dialogue about mental health for artists and audiences alike, as well as shine a light on free mental health resources available to everyone. 

SHAED’s contribution to the Unmasked series features the band opening up about their mental health individually as well as a group. They discuss their struggles with anxiety and depression, how COVID-19 made things better and worse in different ways, and the courage it took to finally speak up about their struggles and get help. “We learned not to fear mental health challenges but to understand and embrace them,” the band says. “Spotlighting this issue is so important to us, which is why we are constantly trying to share our experiences, feelings, struggles with our fans so they do not feel alone."

The music industry can be emotionally and psychologically taxing, and SHAED aren’t alone in struggling with that mental weight: 73% of musicians have experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression at some point in their career, a rate significantly higher than the general population. SHAED’s experience was one that artists around the world can identify with.

The pandemic may be slowly receding, but the need for artists, fans, and the music community at-large to be open and vocal about their mental health is still vital. Watch the first episode above and stay tuned for the rest of the series.