Are “Goths” more Depressed?

MetalheadsFirstly, I’m going to say how much I hate the use of the word “goths” in this context, the people it refers to were apparently self-identifying so I will forgive it, but, there is a social stigma attached to calling anyone who wears anything alternative/black a goth, and there are so many sub-cultures people could be part of (or not) that it’s quite offensive to everyone including genuine goths!

Now that’s off my chest, there was a really interesting report on Channel 4 News last night!


To summarise, the lovely folks over at the University of Bristol, have been doing a long term research study to see which sub-cultures teens self-identify with and the percentage of those teens who have suffered with depression, self harm, a form of mental illness.

Given my earlier rant it’s not hard to see “Goths” came out on top with 37% of them self harming.

There was discussion around if the teens were depressed before they became a goth and it seemed the answer was in most cases yes. They were interviewing Christina Marie (a local musician and study participant) who was describing how she felt that it was a real community, that there was more support and understanding from others who were experiencing similar problems. And this got me thinking about my teens.

Now, this research study covered teens born in the nineties. I was a teen in the nineties so my experience was probably quite different then to how it may have been more recently.

I was called a goth at school, I was more grunge (see Shirley Manson those who don’t remember)! I was also alone in my style and music taste, a fan of Nirvana, Guns n Roses, Metallica, Slayer it was already clear I was not the same as everyone else.

I tried fitting in with the other, played the I’m a Take That fan, even went to concerts with some of the girls but my heart wasn’t in it and truly the music sucked!

I was first diagnosed with depression at nine. I started showing bipolar symptoms around 13/14 although I wasn’t diagnosed until 25.

I wasn’t bullied at school, but I didn’t have other friends who “got it” and I was teased. I had one friend who liked the same music as me and we would go listen to our albums at lunch times, and talk about the concerts we were going to (but weren’t because neither of our parents were letting us)!

I never found a cultural group as described in this report which I was part of and felt a kinship with and have always struggled to make groups of friends preferring one on one interaction.

I am a metal head, but on my wedding day everyone went on about me being a goth because I wore a black dress not understanding being a goth is a lifestyle not a colour choice!

The alternative community is huge and made up of rockers, bikers, metal heads, goths, punks, grunge, cyber-goths and that is for starters!

People in these sub-cultures may be more inclined to depression but maybe that’s because we are also more open about who we are. More willing to express ourselves, openly and honestly.

Finally, just to add fuel to the fire. I read a contradictory article based on a study of music listeners recently saying people who listen to heavy metal are the happiest.

Now, I may have Bipolar, I may suffer with depression, I may get psychosis, and hypo-mania. But…for the most part I’m happy!


4 thoughts on “Are “Goths” more Depressed?

  1. Very interesting. Most of my friends and I are metal heads and are a mostly happy bunch, myself now included. I find metal calming, it’s not often that a good jump around to something heavy doesn’t help ☺

    Liked by 1 person

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