BTS help people, it's a fact, they help through their words, their songs their actions and just being who they are.
It's also fair to say that they themselves represent the most under supported gender in terms of mental health care.
They have never been shy in talking about how they feel, the hardships they have gone through and how they have come out the other side.
We at BTS Radio UK wanted to come together with ARMY across the world to support a charity wholly focused on the mental health of men, preventing suicide and supporting the families affected by male mental health.
WHAT IS CALM?
We are the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and we’re leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK through frontline services, national campaigns, and by building communities.
· 6,507 people died by suicide in 2018 (ONS)
· Every day on average 17 people take their own life in the UK and three in every four suicides are male (ONS)
· Of men under the age of 45 in the UK, more than 4 in 10 have contemplated taking their own life, but fewer than half these men told anyone how they were feeling (YouGov)
· Only 55% of men who’ve experienced depression will tell anyone about it, compared to 67% of women (CALM’s Masculinity Audit 2016).
· 84% of men say they bottle up their emotions (YouGov)
CALM takes an active and positive approach to changing this unacceptable picture:
We operate on the front line, delivering services for anyone in crisis or distress, supporting the people around them who are looking for advice, and those bereaved by suicide
We campaign for long-term culture change to help raise awareness of suicide and change a culture where some people feel they can’t ask, or shouldn’t, ask for help when they’re down.
We spread our message and facilitate supportive spaces in workplaces, universities, pubs, clubs and prisons across the country – so that people feel empowered to share their experiences and get the help they need before they reach the point of crisis.
THE CALM APPROACH
CALM is a platform for expression and collaboration, where we actively reject living miserably to embrace and celebrate all interpretations of masculinity.
· Anyone can hit crisis point. We run a free and confidential helpline and webchat – 7 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone who needs to talk about life’s problems
· We support those bereaved by suicide, through the Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP)
· theCALMzone.net is CALM’s website, hosting inspiring content alongside information and support
· Everyone has a part to play. We campaign with media partners, brands and ambassadors to spread awareness of suicide and its devastating impact with campaigns like #Project84, #DontBottleItUp and The Best Man Project. We challenge boring male stereotypes and encourage positive behavioural change and help-seeking behaviour, using cultural touch points like art, music, sport and comedy
· CALM’s helpline and webchat services directly prevented 675 suicides in 2018
· Since CALM was founded in 2006, awareness of male suicide has quadrupled and currently sits at 45% nationally
· CALM supports in excess of 10,000 contacts on the helpline and webchat each month
WHERE THE MONEY GOES
· £8 Enables CALM to answer one potentially life-saving call
· £24 Provides support materials to 4 families who have lost someone to suicide
· £109 Equips a volunteer with vital training and ongoing support to spread the CALM message across the UK
· £440 Trains and equips a professional helpline worker to speak to people in crisis
thecalmzone.net | @thecalmzone
We are hoping you will donate towards this wonderful charity and the work it is doing, here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bts-radio-uk-mybtstorchsong
To thank you for your support we approached some male army to talk about their experiences of mental health, they have kindly sent us their BTS songs that have become their torch songs, songs that touch you and get you through those moments something CALM knows about through their torch songs campaign. #whatsyourtorchsong
Read and share their stories, thank them for their honesty, donate and listen to their joint playlist here: #MyBTSTorchSong in support of CALM
Bill started his YouTube channel 'thethirdbill' a few years ago in the pursuit of trying new things to broaden his horizons and learn more about the world we live in through entertainment. He started his 'Trying to Stan' series in 2019, many people suggested he listen to BTS, which is when one of the Radio UK team noticed him. Bill seemed to instantly connect with their messages in a way no other 1st time reactor had, not only that but he was completely prepared with lyric translations and notes which was highly impressive!
"I started my 'Trying to Stan' series where I discover new music/artists and document my initial reactions, thoughts, and impressions. After listening, and reading, their work I discovered I relate a lot to their music and have been enjoying learning more ever since!"
I’m an avid music lover who recently has begun to expand my horizons in both artists and genre in the name of finding new music, chronicling my experiences on YouTube in the hopes of enlightening or entertaining others. Through this search, I have found myself listening to BTS and really finding more assistance than I expected in my current battle for mental health.
Music has the power to open a window into one’s soul for others to look through to see what they see or feel what they feel. As we generally know, music and all of entertainment, is a difficult industry for one to break into and achieve commercial success. BTS is a group that uses their music to first let you in on their story and struggles, then reaches out to thank you for being a part of that success.
Almost like a therapeutic session, their solos in the album Wings opened a portal into a piece of who each member is individually. While they all have beautiful expressive pieces, one that lingers with me is RM’s ‘Reflection’. Illustrating someone who idolizes how they are perceived over how one perceives themselves. “Everyone else knows where they’re supposed to be, but only I walk without purpose. But still, blending in with them is more comfortable.”
A constant source of my own unhealthy thoughts, I battle regularly with body dysmorphia and allow fear of how others might see me plague my mind. Much like the point of view in ‘Reflection’, I thought life worked the way it was shown to me through screens (a movie). That there was a way I had to be and look and I would feel happy. Breeding a façade that if I obtained that life, all my sacrifices would not be in vain, and my friends and family would accept me and feel pride. If only my life fit into that one in a million cookie cutter I saw acted out for me daily.
I started to lose my hair at an early age and it ate me up inside. Convinced I lost my future with my hairline, I sank into a dark place and stopped taking care of myself. Despite building a name for myself in comedy and surrounding myself with people who could care less about my lack of luscious locks, it was constantly painful to look at myself. When I was younger, I would intentionally damage the body I was given, spiteful of what it “should be”. As a young adult, I would let drink and smoke damage it for me with the same intentions. Convinced the voices are right and I had already failed without a chance to try.
‘Reflection’ illustrates that mental haze and constant anticipation of judgment perfectly in its painful lyrics and subdued, almost vacant, delivery from RM, “I just stand there with the familiar darkness. With the people that are smiling.”
Traditionally, there would be a solution in a track with this type of subject matter. Going out with friends, believing in yourself, picking up your passion, doubling down on your dreams, shouting back at the haters, etc. Yet in ‘Reflection’, it ends on a repeated line that fades out with added weight: ‘I wish I could love myself’.
Connecting the lyrics to my own experiences and realising that this was the feeling I had lived with my whole life in disguise. This was the same voice that tries to convince me to give up my dreams and life, pretending to be my vanity speaking. The lack of solution in this song, drives home the best realisation a being on this earth can have (in my opinion): You are not the only one who feels this way. You are not alone. Dark thoughts come in many forms and are not always going to be so obvious or upfront. A sentiment I carry with me in my back pocket when dark thoughts return. I am not the only one.
Though I do not possess an extensive knowledge of their library yet, I have found a lot of myself and my own journey in their work. Seeing as they are an overwhelming success in an industry I too aspire to be a part of one day, taking the time to see those similarities has helped me come to terms with not only what I’ve been through, but more so why I do what I do now.
The largest piece of similarity to be found between myself and the seven Bangtan Boys is a starting point of opposition lead by aggression. Specifically, the struggles mentioned in their song ‘Dope’.
While a song that would seem at first glance a victory over those who tell you that you can’t achieve your goals, I see it as a launching point for a journey. That poised kick off before a race. Instead of being met with cheers and encouragement, the seven of us hear voices of hate, negativity, and condemnation. As someone who grew up in an area lacking in diversity and arts, I found myself standing out in a more negative way. Slurs thrown at me from strangers, friends, and even family. Fueling my fire to fight back with hate, it filled a large part of my teens and early twenties. Often bursting and leaking over into other facets of my life. That hate would cause me to spiral and seek substances to escape. I was going out and spending more on drinks than I was on rent or food. The literal opposition that the boys sing against in ‘Dope’. I was angry at everything, at everyone, and I would do all I could to escape being who I was becoming.
Fueled by songs of breaking, raging, even running away, that’s what I did. Never allowing others, or myself, the time to understand and process all that was going on with me. A song like ‘Dope’ that tackles similar themes of facing push back and negativity, but in a constructive way of passion over retaliation, showed me how my own outlook can change to a healthy source of determination. “I reject rejection. I’m always over the top.” Shining a light on how I’ve processed my pain in the past and how you can utilise hardships to an advantage in what drives you, but now letting it control you.
‘Dope’ is a song that I listen to when I need to feel the healthy response to things that still weigh down on me. “Why are you hanging your head and accepting it already? Energy! Energy! Energy! Don’t ever give up. You know you’re not lonely!” Lightening the chip I put on my own shoulder, encouraging a self-check in that I’m doing things to follow my dream and not let others define myself or my successes. When I feel that ooze over my mind and body leading me to contemplate giving up, I remember how they fight back and I feel this desire to then pass that torch to others who may enjoy my own work one day. An eternal flame of inspiration I hope to invoke in others as a way to continue their gift of fire.
If I could attribute my hard work to anything, it would be my family. All I want to do is give back what I owe to those in my life that have supported me. My stepmother for being my support system when I needed help moving across the country. My siblings and cousin who were my first views, likes, and subscribers, and a constant source of inspiration as we have vastly different interests. Most of all my grandfather who always taught me to follow my dreams and to work hard. I want to give back to them and to my whole family. I want to absolve their debts, give them houses, and kick back on nice vacations with them ‘because you gave selflessly to me, because you were my support’.
Most of all, I want them to be proud of my work, and see the fruits of their support and efforts. ‘Mama’, J Hope’s single off of the Wings album, gives me that hope of possibilities. When I hear the joy and pride in the song, I can actually feel the darkness and negativity dissolve into a bright optimism that these plans will one day be reality. “Because you were fertilizer to a sprout, I will become a flower and be your flower path.” What was once a weight saying ‘you will let them down’ becomes a promise that I will continue to strive for this goal. As my mind warps this dream into a nightmare, ‘Mama’ corrects my course and helps me look forward to the day I can celebrate with those I love, and not worry that I’ll be too late, or that it will never happen at all.
As someone who has struggled with wellness, both physical and mental, BTS not only reinforces that this is a more common obstacle than we tell ourselves, but presents a reality to these situations and feelings. Being honest with their experiences, they show us that we are not fighting alone. Something that is brought to my attention a lot when I talk about BTS is how much of their writing is for us, the fans, both new and Army. Showing us that with hard work and dedication, you can conquer what stands in front of you, and with awareness and understanding of what you truly desire, you can conquer the obstacles we place in front of ourselves as well. There is a lot of power in those messages. The swell of music when ‘Dope’ erupts into horns is an alarm for me to hold up not a fist of rage, but a shield to protect myself from rejection, dejection, and fear.
I look back on what I feel is missing in my heart with RM in ‘Reflection’ and feel connected by this shared fear of never feeling whole. Channeling what drives me forward, my family, into a positive goal. The boys draw out of me a desire to understand myself so I can also be in a place where I can help others in my own way. I do my best to show my emotions in my content, and not hide behind this wall of ‘masculinity’ we’re programmed to see as weakness. It’s not always easy, but listening to BTS is now one of the steps I take to remember to not let the ability slip away. To see the response to their subject material of self-awareness and understanding is a beauty on its own, but to also see them encourage us to find that understanding for ourselves brings things to this affirmation that yes, this happiness and love is meant for us too.
Whenever I feel the inviting abyss of doubt or loathing, I turn to music for comfort and expression.
Whether I’m scared of showing others more of who I am, or even if I’ve convinced myself that something I want to wear is going to bring hostility, BTS is one of the artists I turn to for an opportunity to acknowledge my feelings. Knowing I’m not the only one brings me comfort, and understanding this is their goal brings me joy. “You’re my light. I’m your light,” that cycle of positive energy they give us and we return to them grows. I’m thankful it has spread to me. I hope I can share it to anyone who reads this and I’m excited for those it will spread to in the future. That is the light I look to when I feel the dark.
2. First Love
3. No More Dream
7. Blood, Sweat, and Tears