You Me At Six frontman Josh Franceschi has credited Tyson Fury with helping him to overcome suicidal thoughts and improve his mental health.
The singer, 30, said he had been inspired by the heavyweight’s public battles with depression and addiction and his subsequent return to boxing in 2018.
Franceschi has previously spoken of how he became depressed around 2017 in part due to the intensity of heavy touring across more than a decade.
His band’s new album Suckapunch, released on Friday, features the song Finish What I Started which was written during that period.
Franceschi told the PA news agency: “This is a song we have been sitting on about a time when I was very close to ending my life to be honest, and I think that I was lucky that I had a support network around me and I went to therapy and got through it.
“It was strange. I feel like maybe Tyson Fury and myself were on the same journey at the same time. I was so inspired by this person getting their life together. I was like, ‘I have got to get my life together’.
“I had always been a boxing fan. The guy I had been championing before was Anthony Joshua because Fury had been retired and all that sort of stuff.
“He came back to me with a revelation because he was this champion of the world, this heavyweight boxer, and was exposing himself and letting people know how vulnerable he is, but saying, ‘I’m not going to let this defeat me’. It was so empowering.”
Franceschi said he had only recently felt comfortable enough to release songs about his mental health.
Finish What I Started features the lyrics: “Now I know I’m not the only one / Who feels that the time has come / When you feel the race is run / It’s time to pick yourself back up.”
Recalling writing the track in 2017, he said: “We were on tour in Germany and I was going through a very dark phase in my time. I truly believe that it has only surfaced now because it is only now that I feel comfortable to be honest and liberated enough to have other people hear that song.
“There will be a lot of our fans who are definitely, ‘I have seen Josh on the road during that tour and tours since and I never thought he was that low’.
“There is something quite liberating – maybe flaws is the wrong way of saying it – but accepting the good and the bad sides of your personality.
“For many years we have been touring around the world, for almost 15 years, for so long, especially for a group of lads on a bus or in a van or in a hotel terminal.
“We don’t really open up or talk about stuff too much. We have got a lot better over the years.
“I am so glad that there is such healthy conversation abut anxiety and depression and mental health. It has really been brought forward by brave people telling their story.”
The rock band, from Weybridge in Surrey, are hoping to combat Blue Monday on January 18 – considered the most depressing day of the year – through a new mental health initiative.
YOUMonday will see Franceschi host a vegan cooking lesson on social media, while fans will also be able to join a local walk with guitarist Max Helyer or a sourdough baking lesson with bassist Matt Barnes through the hashtag #YOUMondayAtSix.
The charities CALM and YoungMinds have also thrown their support behind the initiative.