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Benga: "Me opening up and talking about mental health is a way of moving forward"

He's gone into detail about his mental health

  • Mixmag staff
  • 2 October 2015

Benga has opened up about his mental health problems in a new interview with The Guardian.

Having recently talked about his schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, both of which he was diagnosed with last year and led him to being sectioned, he's now spoken in-depth about his illnesses with journalist and Mixmag contributor Kate Hutchinson.

"Part of me opening up and talking with people about mental health is a way of moving forward. It's good to see people on my Twitter feed talking about it.

"This industry is all about perception: a lot of people wouldn't want anybody to think they're weak, or that they can't do what they do, or that they're not cool. Nobody wants to come clean, let alone an artist.

"There's a lot of stigma around sectioning, as if it's something you couldn't possibly do to another person. A lot of people are scared. But it needs to be done," Benga, real name Adegbenga Adejumo, said.

Despite Midland and Scuba being a few who also revealed battling with depression and anxiety, the dubstep originator believes there's still a lot of progress to be made.

As for what it brought his illness on, Benga goes into detail about his substance use from a late teenager as being a cause.

"I'd been taking [drugs] since I was 17 years old, but it really started to affect me when I was about 22, 23. The majority was ecstasy but I also discovered ketamine when I was 25. I started to get anxiety and paranoia, but it's always been in my nature to carry on and think that everything is going to go away."

Doing drugs and touring became a negative cycle that he couldn't break: "People would say to me: 'You need to slow down,' but I didn't recognise that anything was wrong."

Collecting all of his jewellery, including a Rolex watch, and giving it away to strangers was one of the things he lists as doing at his lowest and he's called on people to act immediately if they spot anything wrong with friends or family.

"I would plead with anybody who sees anything wrong with their mates, their family members, to act on it straight away. That way you can limit the damage that's done. Too many people are blase. I see it in other people now more than ever. I see the mood swings and the paranoia and I think to myself: 'You're on a bad road.'"

Read the interview in full here.

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