Creativity and Mental Health: 3 Musicians Sing About Their Struggles In Powerful Videos Worth Watching

Emmy Villa Atchinson’s original song is poignant and powerful.

(4-7-23) When Emmy Villa Atchinson’s grandmother sent me a Youtube of Emmy singing an original song about her teenage years, I was awestruck.  My son, Kevin, uses music to describe his experiences, as does Andrew Neil. All three talented artists are using music to tell important stories about mental illnesses.

Emmy Villa Atchinson – Everyone is worthy of help.

A college student at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Emmy Atchinson told me why she shared her music.

Everyone is worthy of help. I think a big roadblock for me in the mental health recovery process was feeling like I was able to get help, but undeserving of it. I was not undeserving, and neither is anyone else who feels that way. My therapist told me that it doesn’t matter if a person is drowning in 2 feet of water or 20 feet; they’re still drowning and they need help. It may feel like your problems aren’t important enough or that you yourself feel inherently unimportant, and that’s a very scary and isolating feeling. But everyone’s feelings are valid and their life is valuable. Everyone deserves happiness. There was a point in my life when I thought I wouldn’t be alive at 20. I’m so glad I was wrong. When I say that I hope to see another year, I truly mean it. I wouldn’t have been able to say that if I hadn’t decided I was worthy of help.

Bravo Emmy! You can learn more about Emmy and her music here.

Kevin “Earleybird” Earley

Music has been crucial to my son’s recovery. In this gut-wrenching song, Kevin raps about his experiences in a mental hospital. It’s both lyrical and troubling.

In this second video, Kevin describes the importance of patience.

Andrew Neil songwriter/singer

In 2019, I posted a blog about Andrew Neil’s recovery after he stabbed his younger brother in the arm during a psychotic break. (A Virginia Family’s Story From Sadness To Hope) .Andrew later wrote a song, Sorry Kyle” about his actions.


During Andrew’s first hospitalization in 2009, he was at Virginia Baptist Psychiatric ward in Lynchburg for a month. During a therapy session, a girl sat next to Andrew. The group leader went around the room and asked: “Please share with everyone something you love.” The girl leaned over to Andrew and whispered in his ear, “Don’t tell the doctor, but I’m in love with suicide.”  This haunted Andrew for a long time and he wrote a song about the incident over a decade later.

Have you made a song about your story? If so, please share the link on my Facebook page.

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.