Let’s all make tiny, positive changes

Scott Hutchison. Picture: Greg Macvean
Scott Hutchison. Picture: Greg Macvean

Love and utter despair, two very different emotions, which call people to the Forth Road Bridge.

The padlocks of love, engraved with names, special dates and the most personal of messages speak of wonderful new adventures.

But, just a few yards away there is a smaller sign which simply asks: “Need someone to talk to?’ It was placed by The Samaritans.

“Is there peace beneath the roar of the Forth Road Bridge?” wrote Scott Hutchison, lead sing of Frightened Rabbit.

The discovery of his body last week at Port Edgar, South Queensferry, almost directly below the giant structure was as heartbreaking as the outpouring of love for him and his music, was extraordinary.

Listening once again to Floating In The Forth is incredibly painful right now, but we should. We must.

We need to be open and honest about mental health. We need to talk. Above all we need to listen.

We live in a world that doesn’t ever switch off – phones, shops, TV channels, and the web all buzz and beep round the clock.

We live in a world where loneliness can be crushing, and in a society where we no longer know our neighbours beyond a casual nod of the head as we turn to close the door on everyone and everything.

Family networks and relationships fragment, and working hours grow ridiculously long, and hopes of crucial long-term stability hang on the whim of a bean-counter with a restructuring plan in one hand and a pre-written P45 in the other as austerity grips even tighter

Depression, anxiety, stress, self-doubt, shattered self-esteem. We’ve all been there and it’s horrible.

Everyone needs an anchor which holds firm when those dark days threaten to submerge everything.

Scott’s music was that very lifeline for so many people. He spoke openly about his own mental health issues, and the crippling sadness that life can throw like a curve ball, but he did so with humility and some beautiful, gentle humour – not to mention some delicious Scottish sweariness – and, he too found shafts of light in the gloom of darkness.

He turns Floating In the Forth 360 degrees with the line “on the northern side, there’s a Fife of mine, and a boat in the port for me.”

And the pay-off line “I think I’ll save suicide for another year” was bellowed with gusto right back at him every time he sang it live; a defiant, life-affirming moment shared by strangers coming together as one voice. For many it was very personal.

And it’s lines like that which sum up the beauty, the fragility and the humanity of a man who was genuinely much loved.

“While I’m alive, I’ll make tiny changes to earth” he wrote.

Scott Hutchison did much more than make tiny changes. His music reached out and helped, even saved, so many people.

In Mental Health Awareness Week, we need his voice more than ever. I hope the true joy of his music – it was anything but maudlin – will go on touching people for years to come.

>> You can call Samaritans free any time on 116 123 (this number will not appear on your phone bill), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit HERE Samaritans