Throughout 2019, Noah Cyrus started to open up to her fans about her struggles with mental health. But with her song and video for “Lonely,” the singer made her voice unequivocably heard as a person who knows what it means to be caught in that struggle. Now, she’s taking steps to ensure that others don’t have to feel that way.
Cyrus recently teamed up with the Seize the Awkward campaign, alongside the Ad Council, the Jed Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which has seen the likes of Billie Eilish, Hayley Kiyoko, Aminé and more encourage their fans to talk about their experiences with mental health. In her new video for the campaign (premiering below), Cyrus talks about how she had “one of the hardest years of my life” in 2018, where she felt like she needed someone to talk to, but couldn’t have the conversation because she felt alone in her suffering: “I needed the conversation because I couldn’t take the feeling in my body anymore.”
But as Cyrus explains in the video, things changed when she found someone who took the first step with her. “One day my manager called me, and he said ‘I just talked to a friend for a really long time, and I now understand what you’re going through, and I’m here for you if you need me,'” she recalls. “And that shifted everything for me, just knowing that one person on my team understood.”
Ahead of the release of the new video, Cyrus chatted with Billboard via email about the importance of talking to someone, her advocacy for LGBTQ youth, and what she hopes her fans can take away from the campaign.
Why are you excited to be joining the Seize The Awkward Campaign?
Because mental health is something that I’ve struggled with for a long time. Any foundation that I can get involved with to help stop the stigma, I will.
You’ve spoken at length in your music about your struggles with depression and anxiety, especially on Good Cry. What have you seen as the benefits of opening up to your fans about those issues?
The benefits of writing music that’s true to you is your fans listen to it, and they feel like they’re talking to you. At least that’s my goal for my music — that I’m just being completely honest and raw within my music, telling you exactly how I feel, telling you exactly what I’m living. And hopefully, you know, I definitely know that there’s people out there that relate to it, and so I make music to relate to it because all my favorite bands and artists are my favorites because I related to them, and they made me feel like I wasn’t alone. It’s a cool thing that music can do to a person’s mind. It definitely helps people.
In your latest video for “Lonely,” you not only use your platform to speak about your own struggles, but in the video, you recruited members of the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Music Program to perform with you. What went into deciding to uplift and support those voices in singing about mental health?
Yeah, I think there’s a lot of loneliness within the LGBTQ community, at times, whether it’s their family shutting them out, judgment from the public, judgment from others, feeling like they’re not supported. It might be a hard conversation for somebody to come out, due to their family situations or the town that they grew up in — there are so many situations. And there are so many stories that the kids on set were telling me about and how they ended up where they were, and homeless youth and ending up on the streets. And it was very important for me to raise awareness for that.
Also, Miley’s always been a huge advocate for LGBTQ community with Happy Hippie, and I’ve always loved the Happy Hippie Foundation. That’s just always been a special part of my family, speaking up for the LGBTQ community.
Outside of your music, you’ve had very active mental health awareness campaigns. What do you hope fans can take away from that and from this campaign?
I hope my fans see this, and they want to help people. Or this inspires them to go get help, and inspires them to listen to other people and help other people, and/or receive that on the other end. Don’t be afraid to speak up. I want to teach them to help others and be kind to others.
I especially see fandoms of music people going after each other. Like, be nice to each other. Words exist on the internet, they’re not just words. So when you’re talking to someone on the internet, it feels real for now. It feels just as, you know, harsh as it would saying in person. There’s a lack of kindness in the world right now. We really need to be kind to one another.