Song recommendations to relate to

Whether you experience mental illness, look from the outside in; songs will make you feel less alone.



Extreme vulnerability is apparent in these five songs that convey difficult feelings.


Along with understanding the music, sometimes artists want people to find comfort in their music, relatability, reassurance and, most importantly, enjoyment. Music is a road map, one that leads you through extensive thoughts and feelings, each artist crafting their perfect sound and vision of emotion. In its own artistic way, music can speak without lyrics and messages don’t have to be spelled out to be understood. 

These five songs have helped comfort me and have guided my growth in my own mental health journey. Allow the emotions in these tracks to be present and acknowledge the conversation on mental health while listening. For many artists, music relating to mental health often shares a broader expanse of their own feelings and what they want to share.

Black Dog – Arlo Parks

Using the feelings of nostalgia and channeling the empathy toward a loved one, Parks explores mental health from the viewpoint of a friend. Originally a poem written about her best friend, “Black Dog” is Parks’ view as she watches someone she love go through mental health issues. The track tells the story of Parks trying anything she could think of to help her friend stay alive. 

Right off the bat, the wistful strike of the guitar strings balances the heavy content of the song. The creation of comforting yet heavy nostalgia blissfully surrounds our ears with the reminder that we don’t have to struggle alone. 

It Is What It Is – Blood Orange

Inviting you to take a breath, slow down and let the powers be as they may, Dev Hynes, otherwise known as Blood Orange, allows a break from the chaos of our lives. Throughout the simplistic track, a wave of content and peacefulness washes away our worries despite the heavy words of the song. 

In the longer than average 5-minute track, Hynes depicts a montage of anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. Yet in the chorus, those ideas are countered with the lyrics: “Even if it’s something that you had your eye on, it is what it is.” 

When mental health gets the better of you, this song will give you a warm, embracing hug, reminding you it’s alright if things don’t always go as planned. Like Hynes said, “It is what it is.”

Epiphany – BTS

Like watching the night sky with shooting stars, “Epiphany” by Kim Seokjin or Jin of BTS, leaves an unforgettable bliss ringing in your head. As a part of “Love Yourself: Answer,” the final part of the “Love Yourself” album trilogy, the piano ballad stems from messages of self-growth, a common theme in the album. “Epiphany” is both a reminder and realization for Jin to put himself first. 

While listening to the dreamy and powerful song, an undeniable spark of self-love washes over you, a subtle but joyful look on your own self-growth.  “I’m the one I should love,” the lyrics remind us.

The Last – Agust D

In a moment of frustration with your mental health, it’s easy for all hell to break loose. In moments like these, a distinct feeling of shame and being misunderstood whips around in your chest threatening to breakthrough. 

In this song, an eerily familiar rage rips through your head and heart. This track by Min Yoongi, otherwise known as Agust D, outwardly displays feelings of frustration in depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder

In a bluntly real and raging message, Agust D drives home the idea of no longer denying a part of yourself and coexisting with what you used to hate. It’s not easy, but it’s worth trying to be the person you want. 

The body is a blade – Japanese Breakfast

In a melancholy and soft cry out into the world, Michelle Zauner, also known as Japanese Breakfast, traps the imagery of when you must rely on your body to keep yourself moving in times of heavy trauma.

Reflecting on a period in her life after her mother died, Zauner desperately pleaded with herself not to fall into depression; she begged her body to continue forward in life as her mind was disoriented. 

The lyrics “try your best to slowly withdrawal” strike a chord of emotional comfort and relatability, a familiar feeling for many who deal with mental illness. The soft and dreamy realness of this 2017 track is a must listen for a conversation about mental health.