PIP: The Strangehouse w/ Ben Barlow and Jonny Boucher

By: Alexandra Beste

Our founder Jonny recently sat down with Ben from Neck Deep and Wes from The Strangehouse to talk about mental health, friendship, and proactive prevention.

\\Ben Barlow, Wes Hoffman, and Jonny Boucher on Warped Tour (link to podcast here)//

Even though Warped Tour 2017 came to a close earlier this month, we can still revel and linger in the Warped spirit as the last days of summer are slowly approaching thanks to The Strangerhouse. The pop punk podcast, created and hosted by Wes Hoffman, went on the road to chat with some of the bands and organizations on this year's roster. We had the pleasure of hanging out with Wes and Neck Deep's lead singer Ben down in Bonner Springs. 

Reminiscing about how they met and started working together, Jonny and Ben branched into how self-expression platforms, such as music, allow us to break through the silence of stigma. Since HFTD and Neck Deep started doing outreach touring together, we've noticed how impactful speaking out is to help others understand and embrace their own mental health. "It’s the proof of concept, the more you speak about (suicide prevention), the more stuff gets out there, and people can become educated and comfortable with it, too."

As part of the punk rock scene, Ben talked about how he and the other members of the British band wanted to connect with their fans and spread hope. "That was my genuine intention going out there, was to write a positive album because I was in a positive frame of mind and I had been in a good place for a long time and I wanted to share that with people."

Wes also opened up about his own mental health, sharing how his previous job affected his mental health, and how leaving that job allowed him to pursue The Strangehouse.

Suicide prevention starts with a conversation on our mental health. We can be proactive on prevention by raising the visibility of resources and education instead of waiting for someone to reach a point of crisis to act.

"It comes down to talking about it," Ben pointed out. "Some of the most meaningful conversations in my life have been about mental health… and the most meaningful to me and the ones I remember are the ones that I felt like after, it got me out of a bad place and helped me think about something."

A massive thank you to our Partners in Prevention, Neck Deep and Wes Hoffman, for pressing the conversation in their communities. Swing by The Strangehouse on iTunes to hear the full interview!