Band uses Shrubhill as backdrop for song about mental health

A still from the video by The Dan Collins Band highlighting the issue of mental health stigma. Picture: comp
A still from the video by The Dan Collins Band highlighting the issue of mental health stigma. Picture: comp
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IT’S the former tram depot now dismissed as an unwanted scar on the face of Leith Walk. But a city band have given Shrubhill House a new lease of life – by filming their new charity music video there.

The Dan Collins Band have used the site and other locations around the Capital as a scenic backdrop to spread a powerful message about support for people with depression, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

The four-piece selected Support in Mind Scotland as the chosen charity for their festive single, Christmas Eve (In a Nuclear Winter).

The video shows lead singer Dan Collins and others standing in the east end of Princes Street and the Royal Mile, holding poignant messages about mental health stigma as crowds rush by.

Among the signs are “one in 100 experience schizophrenia” and “I am not my illness”.

Dan, 28, thought the song would be fitting as a charity Christmas single.

When he heard about Support in Mind through a friend, it had a special resonance with him, given that he has suffered from depression.

“It’s a very niche, small charity and not very well known,” he said. “Specialist support is absolutely invaluable. One of the things that is most difficult about any kind of mental health illness is how isolating it can feel.

“You become locked in your own world. You can be perceived as self-centred and selfish, but there’s a medical barrier there. I felt self-destructive and withdrawn. A big part of my recovery was using music as a form of expression and meditation.”

Dan, from Abbeyhill, said that songs which touch on depression don’t necessarily have to be sad. “It can be tongue-in-cheek, gallows humour,” he said.

Christmas Eve (In a Nuclear Winter) focuses on what would happen if the city was under fire, and how people would react by pulling together.

The single artwork features an apocalyptic scene of two people standing on a wartorn Princes Street, with the Scott Monument in the 
background.

Mr Collins said of the video, which took just five hours to shoot, said: “It was absolutely amazing being in Shrubhill. It is visually very grabbing and really interesting.”

Frances Simpson, chief executive of Support in Mind, which aims to help and empower all those affected by mental illness, said: “This is the first time Support in Mind Scotland has been supported in this way and we are so grateful to the Dan Collins Band.”

The single will be launched at Studio 24 tonight from 7pm. Guests are invited to donate food and warm clothing for refugees in aid of local charity React, and the £5 entry fee will also go to charity.

The single is now available for pre-order, and the video can be accessed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9quX7jhhiI

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com