‘It’s okay?’ North Yorkshire band release mental health awareness song inspired by their own battles


A North Yorkshire band inspired by their own struggles have released a single in aid of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Thirsk-based acoustic duo The Bootleggers are set to release their charity single ‘It’s okay?‘ on May 9, in support of mental health charity Samaritans. The track was written by singer Dave Manson many years ago after his own battle and recovery from depression.

Since filming himself singing the track and posting it on social media in March, Dave’s video has quickly racked up several thousand views, many of which resonate with the song. Along with “Bootlegger Brother” Nathan, the duo recorded the song as a single to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.

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The couple set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the studio and other costs. After setting an initial limit of £300 and increasing it to £500, the campaign flipped £1,000 in less than 72 hours.

Speaking about the song, Dave said: “I wanted a song aimed primarily at those who aren’t necessarily struggling with their mental health themselves, but those who have friends and loved ones who might be struggling. I have writing ‘It’s okay?‘ with some very important messages in mind.

“First of all, I wanted people to understand that just because someone looks fine, happy and smiling on the outside doesn’t mean they are. So many people with depression and Other mental health issues quickly learn to mask it with a fake smile, so we need to watch out for more subtle signs that they’re struggling.

“Secondly, I wanted people to know that if they’re worried about someone, if they have any concerns about the state of mind of someone they know, then it’s so important talk to them. It’s as simple as asking, ‘Are you okay?'”

Dave and Nathan have both become advocates for mental health awareness following their own personal struggles, and hope their single can encourage others to speak out or speak out about mental health.

Dave and Nathan decided to release the single after struggling with their own mental health battles

Dave, from Middlesbrough, added: Unfortunately, too many people don’t ask this important question when they’re worried about someone, either out of nervousness, fear or because they don’t want to give the impression of interfering. In many tragic cases, it ends up being too late and people find themselves thinking “if only I had said something sooner” and living with that regret. If we can break the stigma and make people feel more comfortable talking about these issues, it will save lives.”

Nathan explained: “We’ve both been through those very dark times and in some ways it’s been an ongoing journey. But we’re proof that by talking and being open about how you feel, reaching out to others and not going through things alone, you can go through these dark days”.

The Bootleggers hope their song can reach those going through their own mental health issues. They have teamed up with mental health charity Samaritans, who endorse the single after first seeing Dave’s video on social media in March.

Dave said: “The song has another message, which speaks directly to those going through their journey or dealing with mental health issues. That message is that it’s important and very beneficial to talk to someone.

“That people care about you and if you reach out to others, or to service like the Samaritans, it can do you a lot of good in terms of getting through the dark times. No one expects you you were taking care of things alone.”

'It's okay?'  by The Smugglers
‘It’s okay?’ by The Smugglers

The couple hope the song can break the stigma and raise awareness of mental health issues. They hope to raise as much money as they do for the Samaritans through streams, downloads, and the song playing on various radio and TV channels.

The song will be released on all major online music stores for download and streaming on May 9. The guys have also signed up with the organization Work For Good to donate 100% of all money generated from downloads and streams of ‘Are You Ok?’ to the Samaritans.

You can keep up to date with the single’s progress by following The Bootleggers UK on Facebook and Instagram, or @BootleggersYO7 on Twitter.

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