Hunter Hayes got candid about his struggles with mental health. The singer was recently announced as One Mind Champion, an ambassador for the world’s biggest brain health non-profit.

Hayes spoke with ET about his experiences and what made him want to share his stories. The country singer attributed the big life changes in the past year to be the catalyst for opening up. 

Much like for everyone else, the pandemic was hard for Hayes as well. It’s also one reason why he is willing to share his story. As a person who struggled with anxiety, Hayes hopes to reduce stigma while empowering others to share their stories.

Fame Took A Toll On Hayes’s Mental Health

On his appearance in The Unwind, Yahoo Life’s well-being series, Hayes revealed he had been battling anxiety since his very first tour. As he began making a name for himself as a musician, he started internalizing the pressure he felt from fame.

He built a belief system that convinced him that his songs needed to be perceived well if he wanted to be successful. The stress accumulated over time and eventually culminated in anxiety issues that he had to deal with for a long time.

Hayes found himself in a dilemma, and he couldn’t get rid of the source of his anxiety as it was music that he loved dearly. After years of struggle, he finally figured out the answer to the mental health problem that had been haunting him — to rebuild his love and relationship with music.

The Masked Singer contestant changed his outlook on success and mental health, opening up about them starting from his 2014 song ‘Invisible.’ The song allowed him to grow closer to his fans by facilitating conversations about mental health.

It opened the door because I realized people would understand that. I had totally different conversations with fans. They were sharing stories about their lives and they were trusting me with parts of their story that really allowed for genuine, human connection.

Hayes has been actively trying to spread awareness regarding mental health ever since. In September 2020, he helped raise funds for TWLOHA, a non-profit movement, on World Suicide Prevention Day.


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One Mind Champion

In his efforts to help the cause of mental health awareness, he was also involved with One Mind as a guest host of Brain Waves. The non-profit’s weekly interview features guests from the brain health community: researchers, advocates, and individuals with lived experiences.

Because of his previous involvement with One Mind and his openness regarding his experiences, he was named the first One Mind Champion — a new ambassador initiative.

Hayes expressed his happiness at being the non-profit’s first champion and stated what he hoped to achieve with the partnership. He will work towards reducing stigma and creating a safe space for people to share their stories.