By Jack Gray & Bonnie McLarenBBC Newsbeat
James Brittain-McVey from The Vamps has said he wants his solo music career to encourage men to speak about their mental health.
The 29-year-old has previously shared his experience of body dysmorphia, which is covered in debut EP Manabi.
“It’s important we acknowledge just how deep rooted these issues can become,” he tells BBC Newsbeat.
His first gig sees him supporting mental health charity Mind for their Music On Our Minds series.
“I’ve spoken a lot about mental health and I’ve been a big proponent of people speaking about it, especially men,” James says.
The singer and guitarist also says mental health has “been an integral theme” in his songwriting.
He says songs like Dancing On The Head Of A Needle from the new EP refers to a period of last year when he was having mental health struggles, while Dance or Die “is trying to demonstrate the feeling of prolonged uncomfortableness”.
“Feeling either immense highs or immense lows, and not really having a middle ground,” he says.
‘Managing the twists and turns’
In 2022, James told MPs how pressure to conform led him to getting liposuction at the age of 20.
“It’s still something that affects me now, I would say it’s 10 years of pretty intense struggles with controlling my diet and having an obsessive fitness routine,” he says.
“And it’s taken me a long time to try and gradually unpick and recalibrate my perception of my own body and also my outlook on what a truly healthy lifestyle of moderation entails.”
But for James, one of his biggest achievements is that more men in his life have been sharing their mental health experiences.
“I’ve seen a tangible shift in men reaching out to me, communicating their emotions and bringing me into their circle if they’re struggling,” he says.
“I think that is what it’s all about. That’s kind of a key to success for me.”
Umairah Malik is a clinical advice coordinator at Beat, an eating disorder charity, and she says men like James sharing their stories is important as “anyone can be affected”.
She says it’s vital for those who think they’re suffering from an eating disorder to ask for help as soon as they can.
Umairah also recommends, if you’re concerned about a loved one, to start a sensitive conversation with them.
“We know that the earlier that someone accesses treatment, the sooner they can make a full recovery,” she says.
“And to get to that stage, there’s often needs to be a conversation.”
James says speaking to a loved one or a friend is important “because dealing with these things on your own is really difficult”.
“There’s no way that I’m at a point where I feel like my mental health is completely fixed or solved,” he says.
“A big thing I’ve learned is remembering that life and mental health is not linear or predictable.
“It’s about learning how to manage the twists and turns and also being in tune with yourself.”
- If you’ve been affected by the issues in this article, you can visit BBC Action Line for help and support