Billie Eilish's songs fuse dark and dreamy melodies with raw, heart-rending lyrics, spanning genres and emotions, but one thing they always are is honest. The 17-year-old has opened up in the past about struggling to feel OK about herself, saying that her song "idontwannabeyouanymore" is inspired by feelings as strong and painful as self-hatred. "It's the way that my brain works," she said in an interview. "You can feel so unbelievably lost and horrible and like you're nothing and you're invisible, for no reason at all."
This month, Billie is channelling that raw honesty in a powerful campaign with Seize the Awkward, a suicide prevention program from the Ad Council in partnership with The Jed Foundation, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In a candid video, Billie talked about her own ongoing mental health journey and the moments when other people have stepped in and made a difference. Her story gets to the heart of the campaign, which implores people to start a conversation when they think a loved one needs help. Even though it might feel awkward, that conversation can be life-changing and life-saving.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple question: "How are you? Are you OK?" Other times, Billie said, "It's about a hug. It's about somebody holding you," or even sending a text message. "It's been like that for me," she shared. "There have been certain people that have texted me right when I needed to be texted, saying that they loved me and that they were thinking about me. And it really means a lot."
"I'm not a trained professional in anything," she went on. "I don't know what I'm doing half the time. But I have seen it and I have been it."
According to Seize the Awkward, people experience mental health issues in different ways, but some common signs include acting out of character, losing interest in hobbies and activities, and feelings of hopelessness or negativity. (You can read more about the different signs of depression here.) It can be difficult — and, yes, pretty awkward — to ask what's going on, but it's also incredibly important. Watch Billie's full video below. And if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, visit Seize the Awkward for more information and ways to help.
In an emergency: If you or your friend needs urgent help, call 911 right away. Or even take your friend to the emergency room for assistance. If you feel it's safe, stay with your friend or find someone to stay with them until help arrives.
In a crisis: You are not alone, and help is always available. Get immediate support 24/7. Reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting SEIZE to 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It's free, and everything you tell them is confidential, unless it's essential to contact emergency services to keep you or your friend safe.