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Friday, August 24, 2018

Indian Band Fights Depression with Metal after Government Proves Incompetent

The band's effort proves that private action succeeds where government fails.

Ladies and gentlemen, the market provides yet again.

Coming out of New Delhi, India, a metal band by the name of “Bloodywood” is using music to help those affected by mental health issues. This comes after the Indian Ministry of Health released an ill-advised infographic on how to cope with depression, which left many citizens upset at the government’s trivialization of the problem. To combat this stigma, Bloodywood released a music video called “Jee Veeray,” which translates to “Live, Brave One,” and used the video to funnel 60 fans into free private therapy sessions.

The Ministry’s infographic characterized depression as a “state of low mood that affects a person’s thought, behavior, feeling & sense of well-being” and offered suggestions such as following a routine, going for walks, eating fruits, and thinking positively to fight it. While I agree that all of these are useful remediations, it’s clear that the government doesn’t understand the full scope of the problem.

One user also proclaimed, ‘This government is the antithesis of scientific.’

Many Twitter users were quick to point out that there is a difference between feeling sad and having clinical depression. Others asked questions, such as “Seeking help in depression, which is life-saving, is not a part of this, why?” and “Why doesn’t the government consult actual mental health experts before putting out such stuff?” One user also proclaimed, “This government is the antithesis of scientific.”

Responding to Government Inadequacy

Well, where there is government failure there is also a potential market solution. In this instance, one just as heavy as the nature of depression itself. Fed up with the inaccurate portrayal, and dealing with a close friend’s suicide, Karan Katiyar (composition and production) and bandmate Jayant Bhadula (frontman/vocals) released the music video “Jee Veerey” dedicated to those affected by depression who may be suffering from suicidal thoughts themselves.

All sessions were booked within a few days.

The band also partnered up with an NGO by the name of HopeNetwork, who helped coordinate the private therapy sessions. The first 60 people to sign up with the code provided in the comments section of the video were awarded the session for free. All sessions were booked within a few days.

The video was a hit with metal lovers around the world, eliciting more than 2.6 million views and 40,000 reactions. The song is a combination of Linkin Park style nu-metal, folk metal, and modern metal with rapping, singing, and harsh screaming, resonating as one of the most unique songs I’ve ever heard. As if the wafting melody of the flute accompanied by the weighty tone of the distorted guitar didn’t make the song powerful enough, the lyrics really drive the message home.

Walk this valley of death, head high. Say ‘I’ll be back, today I won’t die.’ ‘Cause try as we may we can never deny. We can get back up if we’re still alive!

The chorus is extremely inspirational as well.

Only after enduring the tests of fire, iron is forged. Live brave one, fight those internal storms and win. Brave one, weather those wounds and rise once again. Fly once again. For too long you’ve laid in the darkness.

A Unifying Message

This message of becoming fully integrated by enduring suffering is enough to make anyone appreciate the song. In fact, many do. The comments section of the video is an outpouring of support and praise for the band’s message and therapy coordination. The praise comes from all types of people: paramedics who’ve witnessed suicide first-hand, therapists who help combat veterans, common metal-heads, and those diagnosed with depression themselves.

It’s heartwarming to see all the positive reactions to such a heavy issue, and it’s also cool to see all walks of life unite around music. After all, that’s the power that music has.

We should all thank Bloodywood for succeeding where the Indian Ministry of Health has failed. Many believe it is the responsibility of the government to solve humanity’s problems, but true progress is a result of individuals taking action on their own. To see a band write such an inspirational song and use it to actually help people is truly uplifting. That’s what makes “Jee Veeray” such a beautiful work.

Article Update 8/31/18:

I’ve been in contact with Karan Katiyar (composition and production in Bloodywood) and he tells me that after taking advantage of the free therapy sessions, many decided to turn around and pay for others to have free sessions as well. If that isn’t heartwarming then I don’t know what is.