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​olly alexander discusses mental distress and growing up gay "in a straight world"

Talking to Owen Jones about his experiences of mental health problems, the Years & Years frontman opens up about his battle with depression and anxiety, as well as the counseling and "cocktail of drugs" he has been prescribed to control it.

by Ryan White
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Jan 26 2016, 11:46pm

Pop music fan or not, you're probably aware of Years & Years. Spawned out of 2015's most aggressive marketing campaign, the trio won a slew of upcoming musician awards towards the beginning of the year and made good on this promise by Christmas. But while their signature blend of pop-cum-electronic dance tracks has breathed life into the UK's charts, it's not just their music that's resonating with young people. Unlike pop musicians and male artists of yore, lead singer Olly Alexander's uncensored, unapologetic use of male pronouns in the band's songs has been a breath of fresh air in an industry infamous for its heteronormative traditions. Now, going a step further, Olly has also opened a much needed conversation about mental health.

Speaking to Owen Jones for The Guardian, the singer and actor discusses the anxiety and mental distress he has experienced for most of his adult life. Touching on prescient matters like a lack of sufficient mental healthcare available on the NHS, the perceived stigma many people feel in admitting they are struggling to cope, and the difficulties of growing up gay in a "straight world,"  this candid interview certainly feels like a watershed moment in a slowly changing music industry.