TeeJay and Damage Musiq tackle suicide on new single
Dancehall star TeeJay addresses the tough topic of mental illness and suicide with his new single, I'll Touch The Sky, which was released on January 12 on the Damage Musiq label
The Xtreme Arts-directed music video depicts a struggling father dealing simultaneously with the death of his daughter and financial hardships.
The video shows the father navigating life's numerous indignities such as eviction notices and mounting bills, until, fed up, he gives up. There is an attempt at suicide until the man hears TeeJay's song coming from a nearby radio and he fends off the dark waves of depression and continues to live.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the number of suicides in Jamaica increased by nearly a fifth in 2021, compared to 2020, but the rate is still lower than pre-pandemic levels.
Music producer Damage, CEO of Damage Musiq, believes that suicide remains an important topic to discuss locally because of the stigma associated with mental illness.
"TeeJay is an incredible artiste who touches on a very sensitive and pressing topic for young males: depression. This is a very relevant topic, especially now that we're still in a global pandemic after two years ... mental illness is a real problem in our society," said Damage, whose given name is Dwayne Parkinson.
He added that entertainers are even more acutely aware of the pressures of the world and battle depression.
"It's a lot easier for us, as entertainers, to become depressed, because we are in high demand and in the public's eye at all times. We affi do interviews, shows, we affi a think bout we family, we finances, coming up with the next hit, and it's a lot to handle," he said.
Mental illness remains a serious issue in Jamaica, and newspaper reports are replete with articles regarding fatal altercations between mentally ill persons and the security forces and the general society. "More needs to be done," Damage said.