Salford born singer-songwriter/producer Ed Blaney spoke exclusively to Salford Now about his performance at the Suicide prevention vigil, held at MediaCityUk.
The Vigil was held on world Suicide prevention day (10th September) and hosted families and loved ones of those who have committed suicide in the city. The event saw performances from local singers and poets, as well as a procession of 109 yellow flags through the quays, one for each person who has committed suicide in Salford in the last five years
Mr Blaney has worked in the music industry all his life, but admitted that he had never played at anything quite like the event. He gave us his thoughts on the evening.
” It was quite a moving experience really. It was probably the hardest gig I have ever done, and the hardest gig I will ever do in my life. There was a lot of families there. It was a pleasure and a privilege to do, and an honor, but at the same time it really really tested me as a person and an artist.”
“You could feel the pain and the sorrow. In some ways it was like a funeral.”
“Prior to it I had a few messages off people, saying thanks for doing this. It was all over social media, which meant a lot. Already the purpose of it, which is to talk and break down the barriers, had already worked before I’d done the performance.
“The thing is with suicide, it is not a visual thing. Don’t judge a book by its cover. A lady who was speaking, Vicky, shared a horrendous story about her husband. When I was sat in the green room prior, that’s when it hit me as to the extent of what I was actually involved in. I had no idea how many people would be there, and when we did the flag carrying it was just unreal.”
Salford is a city that has struggled with mental health problems in the past. Salford has a higher suicide rate than the national average, as well as socio-economic and mental health issues across the region.
Ed discussed with us his views on the state of well being in his home city, believing that a lot more could be done to prevent suicide and help those with mental health problems.
“I know a few people over the years that have taken their won life, it’s really sad that people in that situation must be living a nightmare.”
“The statistics show its predominantly men, although I don’t think women and young girls should be brushed under the carpet. It’s just so difficult. Men don’t talk. I do, I don’t mind, I’m a tough lad from Salford but I don’t mind having a good cry and opening up about stuff. As I’ve got older I’ve found its the best way to be, and people really respect and admire it, and that’s the direction we are going.
“It obviously is a massive problem with males. you are brought up and told ‘stand up’ and ‘don’t’ be soft’, it just needs to go that. I think the whole tag thing needs to be removed. the pressures on men and women are huge now in life. You are forever under pressure.
“I think society has got a lot to answer for, and certainly the government bodies need to really look at themselves and what exactly they are doing to challenge it, as it is clearly a massive problem. It shouldn’t just be one day a year the awareness, it should be a continuous thing.
“Across the country there is nowhere near enough being done for it. It’s always ex victims and people who have suffered that are instigating. Its all the people that have suffered themselves that are leading it. In fairness Salford City Council and all the Councillors were down here. Salford really embrace it.”
See our full interview with Ed Blaney at MediaCityUk below.