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Monday, 10 December 2018

Engage: 'Stiff upper lip' bad for mental health, Professor Green warns

Written by Craig Simpson

Professor Green has said the British stiff upper lip represses emotions that should be expressed for the sake of mental health, particularly in times of grief.

The rapper has suffered serious personal losses from a young age and believes the wider nation's attitude to death has a major impact on people's well-being.

Hackney-born Green - known off stage as Stephen Manderson - lost his nurturing great-grandmother as a teenager, followed by his father to suicide in his 20s.

While suddenly plunged into emotional suffering, he found death to be taboo in British society and the attitude to the grieving process one of repression.

He wants the nation to be more expressive with their darkest and most painful emotions for the benefit of everyone who will inevitably face the heartache of loss.

Green (pictured), 35, said: "I think it's very typical. The old British stiff upper lip lives on strong. It has a huge impact. I think it has a huge impact on mental health.

"Grief and death are really taboo, it's something we pretend never happens.

"We have quite and unhealthy attitude to death in the UK. We have a culture in England of just telling people to cheer up.

"If you've got a feeling that wants to come out and you don't let it, it will come at you sideways."

Green has started a petition to promote a national day of grief in the UK to give those in pain and outlet and a visible model for healthy emotional expression.

He has dealt with the pain he wants to see expressed, losing those closest to him early in life.

Green's father Peter took his own life in 2008, leading the rapper to call on schools to teach about the kind of mental health issues which affected his father before his death at 43.

He said: "I lost my great-grandmother when I was 13, that was a first experience of loss.

"I lost my dad when I was 25. I lost a friend when I was young, before I really understood death. I thought I was over when my dad died.

"I think expression is hugely important, not just music but art, dancing, anything.

"We need to allow people to feel however they feel. We are all going to experience it. Music lets me express everything."

Green has released a new song, Photographs, featuring Rag'n'Bone Man, with a video that explores the remembrance of those we have lost.

The music video uses photographs of loved ones and testimonies of loss provided to Green from fans.

Green's grandmother, Nanny Pat, features in the video, which also shows old photographs of the rapper with his late father.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Victoria Jones / PA Wire.