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Olly Alexander opens up to Owen Jones about mental health and anti-gay bullying

2016-01-26
Olly Alexander has used a new interview with author and political commentator Owen Jones to call for better mental health provision on the NHS, citing his own struggles with anxiety and depression as a bullied gay adolescent. The Years & Years front man, who spoke about his own mental health struggles in the pages of Attitude at the end of last year, tells Jones in a new interview with the Guardian he believes gay men often feel like they're expected to be happy as soon as they've come to terms with their sexuality. Revealing he first realised he was gay when he fell in love with his best friend at the age of 14, Olly goes on to address the higher rates of mental health problems reported among LGBT people. "I think they're connected. Growing up in a straight world is difficult. Once you admit to yourself and the world that you're gay, there's this expectation that you put on yourself in a way, that you're 'fine now'. "You have to prove to yourself that you can live a happy life and be happy; that's definitely something I've struggled with. You tell yourself that you've struggled enough; you shouldn't have those feelings, you know?" Image | Guardian Discussing the bullying he suffered at school, he says: “Kids can be so cruel at that age. I was obviously just visibly a weaker kid. I think kids are all focused on their hierarchy and status, and I was low status or something.” The 25-year-old continues: “I just hated being at school. I think some people really thrive in that environment. I was a good student, but I just didn’t enjoy school. I found it really tough... If you’re not good at team sports, you’re fucked, and I definitely was not good at team sports. “Being ‘a man’ is really important... Most of my close friends were girls and I didn’t feel like I identified in a way that you were supposed to as a guy.” You can watch the full interview over at the Guardian. Meanwhile, after his breakthrough year in 2015, we recently sat down with Olly and some of the biggest movers and shakers in Britain's LGBT community to discuss gay life today and where it's head next - check out the video in full here. More stories: Author Garth Greenwell: 'Cruising has been central in my life since I was 14' In GIFs | CBB’s Scott T and Jeremy give viwers an eyeful (NFSW)