Bellevue’s CEO talks mental health with Valiant - Invites artiste to tour hospital

August 18, 2023
Dancehall star Valiant with Suzette Buchanan, CEO of the Bellevue Hospital.
Dancehall star Valiant with Suzette Buchanan, CEO of the Bellevue Hospital.

Dancehall star Valiant, as well as members of his Diplomats team, was the special guest of the CEO of the Bellevue Hospital Suzette Buchanan on Thursday, where he toured the facility, shared the thinking behind his number one trending song, Mad Out, and gave his views on mental illness.

Accompanied by a graphic video which shows Valiant acting wild, the song's 3.9 million views since its release three weeks ago has impacted Bellevue, which has seen a considerable uptick in its own social media interactions. Buchanan, who commended Valiant for shining a light on mental illness, confessed that not only was she a fan of the artiste, she initially found the video insensitive. Buchanan has a daughter who has been battling bipolar disorder for more than 10 years. However, after reading the disclaimer at the end of the video and later experiencing first-hand persons' reaction to Mad Out, while in a branded bus at Kingston Wharves, she changed her tune.

"They saw the bus and persons started playing the song on their phones and were saying 'A mad we a mad out', and we couldn't drive out ... and from there this idea started," Buchanan explained. She also shared that the response to a tweet from Bellevue's account asking "Hey, are you okay?" was a game changer. The responses -- the most the account has had in recent times -- ranged from lyrics of the song, to pictures of Valiant and clips from the video. Persons also pointed out that had it not been for the song, they would not have known that Bellevue even had a Twitter account.

During her one-on-one with the artiste, Buchanan went beyond the surface of the song.

"I watched the video and it depicts what the majority of Jamaicans in general think about people who have mental health conditions. What is the key message? What do you want people to take away from the song itself and the video?"

A smiling Valiant said that he was not surprised that Bellevue reached out to him and shared that the idea came to him while he was overseas.

"Mi did a try fi get something that different ... that the kids can sing along with. Me have a friend who have schizophrenia and it teach mi certain things ... and sometimes certain things bother me, so me a try shine light ... in my own way still. People seh mi a mock people who have disorder, but me nuh feel that way cause if mi never do the song, nobody wouldn't remember 'bout mental health until October [Mental Health Awareness Month]," Valiant said.

He then touched on the importance of music, family and friends in keeping himself mentally fit.

"Everybody experience depression," he quipped when asked whether he had ever experienced depression.

He added, "Mental health important still because yuh can have a good mindset and still have nuff pon yuh brain. And depression is a part of that still. Me is a man miserable yuh know and always want everything do right. But even if mi do look sad, mi nuh sad fi long. Me nuh mek it [depression] carry me that far ... mi try fi keep myself active ... music, mi find something do. Go in pon yuhself and lay down ... when mi go in and see my son, is joy."

Buchanan is hoping for a follow-up, perhaps Treatment mi a get now or Better we a get better now. But Valiant had his own suggestions.

"Yuh know mi feel dem wouldn't listen to da one deh," he said. "[But] now that I shine the light, you guys can give the treatment and use that to get people more involved. You can gravitate more on social media with this to show that mental health is everything. I already do my part."

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