Singer Bessie Turner's crying selfie prompts talk plea

By Richard Haugh
BBC News

  • Published
Bessie Turner
Image caption,
Bessie Turner said the pressure to "keep up with the pace of life" was overwhelming for people

A musician praised for posting a selfie of her crying says it is important people feel comfortable speaking about their mental health.

Bessie Turner, a 25-year-old singer-songwriter from Ipswich, posted the photo on Instagram along with a message urging people to seek help if needed.

One comment said she was providing "comfort to all who struggle".

Turner said she was not seeking sympathy but wanted to let people know they were not alone.

Since releasing her debut single at the start of 2017, Turner has toured Germany and the UK, played numerous music festivals, and received support from BBC DJs including Jo Whiley, Steve Lamacq, Huw Stephens and Zoe Ball.

Her Instagram feed has chronicled this rise, and a quick glance at the photos paints the picture of a perfect life.

But in the post of her crying, published on World Mental Health Day on 10 October, Turner said she had taken the photo shortly after she began taking anti-depressants.

"It's just as relevant as all the others of me smiling and singing and feeling like a hot mama that rules the world," she wrote. "Like so many others I've had my battles and some days they just wipe me right out."

Turner said the response to the photo was "overwhelming".

"Lots of people sent me messages saying they were thinking of me and asking if I was OK," she said.

"I had a message from a dad who said it was good for his daughter to see, which I was really moved by.

"I exert this happy go lucky, smiley happy person - which I definitely am - but it's important to show the other side of it as well."

Image source, Chris Driver
Image caption,
Bessie Turner has received support from BBC Introducing and presenters including Jo Whiley and Steve Lamacq

Turner said she battled with issues, including body image and her own self-worth, during her teenage years.

"Being a teenager is the most horrible thing ever," she said.

"I'd never be a teenager again if you paid me a million pounds. Horrid. Just the hormones and the pressure of school."

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It was even harder for younger people today, she said, with social media playing a part in making people feel inadequate.

"It's this involuntary pressure we put on ourselves," she said. "People feel like they're missing out if they're not on social media, people feel that they're not good enough or as good as other people if they are on social media.

"It's hard just keeping up with the pace of life. You feel like you should be this good version of yourself."

Turner said counselling helped her through her teenage years, and she recommends anyone facing similar issues talks to a friend, family member or a professional.

Image caption,
Social media and mobiles made it hard for people to switch off, Bessie Turner said

Although she still has the odd "naff day", Turner said was continuing to try to be comfortable in her own skin.

"Part of my getting better was being in my own head and working out that I am capable," she said. "I do have some self-worth.

"Everyone has got something they're good at - I'm really bloody good at cooking. That's really arrogant, but learn these things about yourself."

She has also been encouraged by other musicians, including Professor Green and Idles, speaking up about mental health issues and hopes others will continue the trend.

"Nadine Shah has put some stuff on her Instagram about panic attacks, and I think that's wicked," she said.

"You shouldn't get more kudos points for it, but people should be able to acknowledge it.

"I think everyone suffers to some extent. Suffers is the wrong word - it's not that negative. It's just something we all have to deal with."