John Lennon's son supports iconic Beatles song used in NHS campaign

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John Lennon’s son Julian has shared his support for the NHS’ new mental health campaign, Help!, which uses the words of the iconic Beatles’ song of the same name.

The campaign encourages those who are suffering with mental health struggles to reach out for support via NHS talking therapies, with stars including The Wanted’s Max George, Ella Henderson and songwriter Laura Mvula speaking the lyrics to Lennon’s famous track.

Supporting the use of his late father’s lyrics, Julian suggested Help! – written by Lennon in 1964 – was one of the ‘most honest songs’ the Beatle penned with the legendary group.

In a statement, Julian said: ‘Aside from being a great track in general, I think Help! is one of the most honest songs Dad ever wrote with The Beatles. By his own account in interviews over the years, he reflected that the lyrics were a cry for help at the time, as he occasionally suffered from depression.

‘Using my Dad’s Help! lyrics in this way through the NHS will hopefully remind people that everyone is susceptible to mental health struggles and help alleviate the hesitation one may feel to seek assistance when needed.’

Carrying on his dad’s legacy, Julian added he wanted to ‘normalise the practise of talking about mental health’.

He went on: ‘In this day and age, when we are confronted with so much on a global scale, from the pandemic to the climate crisis — not to mention our own personal challenges in everyday life — it is very important for people to feel ok about asking for help with mental health. I want to help normalise the practise of talking about mental health, in an effort to remove the social stigmas…

‘If we all work together to raise awareness, perhaps someday the imaginary line that separates mental illness from physical illness will disappear …’

The classic song was written by the Beatles superstar – who was assassinated in 1980 – and it includes the lyrics ‘Help me if you can, I’m feeling down’. It was donated by Sony Music and Apple Corps for the campaign’s rendition.

Since the start of the pandemic, 2.3million people have come forward to request NHS talking therapies, with new figures released today showing that over 50% of people were concerned about their mental health last year, with half experiencing stress, anxiety, low mood and depression.

Speaking of her experiences, Laura Mvula said: ‘Through my own personal experience of when I had therapy on the NHS, it did so much for my emotional wellbeing just to know someone was truly caring for me on a regular basis.

‘It helped me see that things are temporary and however bad and permanent your situation feels, reaching out and sharing with someone you trust is important. It’s ok to ask for help – everybody needs it.’

GP and media medic Dr Sarah Jarvis said: ‘As a GP who is hugely passionate about mental health, I want my patients to know that they can come forward to their doctor if they are experiencing any kind of mental health issues, or can refer themselves.

‘There is help and support available and they can access it in the right way for them. It is imperative to remind people that no one needs to deal with mental health issues alone – the NHS is here to help and we want to help. Please don’t hesitate to ask’.

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