[Content warning: suicide]
The of suicide has been painfully present in the news over the span of the past month. A few high profile losses paired with sobering news about the suicide rate from the CDC (in summary: it’s going up) have continued to open the window for questions to be asked with increasing urgency. How do we talk about depression, suicide, mental health? How do we help others? How do we help ourselves?
These are questions rock music has always been uniquely poised to speak into as a genre that builds itself on the raw, on the brutal, on the most pure passions and pain of human experience. Rock music’s “stick it to the man” ethos attracts the loners, the outcasts, the ones broken by a society that might not know what to do with them. And especially in the terrible void left by losing some of our own last year with the deaths of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, the rock community is offered a crucial opportunity.
It’s a moment 30 Seconds to Mars, the unstoppable rock force built by actor Jared Leto and his brother Shannon, has owned fully with their new music video for “Rescue Me.” The song is part of the band’s most recent album America, a project that explores different elements of this unique cultural moment in history. Part of that cultural moment is, undeniably, a desperate sense of need to be saved from ourselves. 30 Seconds to Mars tells that story by simply showing us intimate, emotional moments with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and contexts. You can watch the video below.
“Rescue Me is a song about pain, a song about empowerment, a song about faith, and a song about freedom,” Jared Leto shared in the video’s description. “Freedom from the wreckage of your past. Freedom from the bondage of self. And freedom to embrace all the promises that life has to offer. It’s also a song about the brutal war so many of us wage against fear, depression and anxiety in the hope that we might, one day, live a life filled with happiness and dreams. Pain does not discriminate. It can affect us all. In our bodies. Our hearts. Our minds. And often, when that pain is emotional or mental, we are afraid to speak up. None of us are ‘ok’ all the time. And there shouldn’t be a stigma when we aren’t. Both my brother and I have had our own intense personal battles and it has, and continues to be, life changing. I try to remember that just past the darkest days await the brightest and most rewarding moments. And that change is always right around the corner.”
The reality that that perspective could be voiced by someone in Leto’s position– an accomplished actor, musician, and cultural icon– speaks to the broader reality that the desire for salvation from the worst of our fears is universal. Leto has answered that desire one way. The answer for someone else might look entirely different. But the recognition that everyone is looking for it bridges divides, reminds us to be a little kinder to each other in incredibly polarizing times.
And maybe the answers to the hard questions begin with something as simple as that: an honest admission that no one is exempt, regardless of belief system or background or social status. Ownership of our own stories and the right to tell them with vulnerability. Recognition that rescue often involves reaching beyond ourselves.
If you need immediate help, you can contact the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For more resources and local longterm support, you can visit twloha.com/find-help.