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Switchfoot: Songs for Mental Health
NRT's Grace Chaves looks at five of the band's songs that speak into anxiety, depression, suicide, insecurity, and trauma

AN NRT EXCLUSIVE EDITORIAL, Switchfoot: Songs for Mental Health
Posted: September 08, 2022 | By: GraceChaves_NRT
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Mental health is a topic that I deeply care about, yet it doesn't get talked about nearly as much as it should. Anxiety and depression are especially rooted in my generation, Gen Z. But let's not kid ourselves: anxiety and depression are rooted in nearly all of us.

Suicide rates are at an all-time high. Trauma is an ever-increasing commonality. Hopelessness and loneliness seem to be the new normal. Because the truth is, life can be painful. The world can feel dark, and people can be cruel. But thankfully, we don't have to live stuck in the darkness. Beyond the clouds, the sun still shines.

If you've read any of my articles before on NewReleaseToday, you'll know that I frequently reference my favorite band, Switchfoot. Their songs have given me so much hope over the past few years, and I know they've helped countless people who have battled with their mental health. So today, I want to share five of their songs and talk about five mental health struggles: anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, insecurity, and trauma.

I recognize that discussing a subject so big as mental health can get weighty. You might immediately put up walls, and write off an article about mental health as another cliché. But hear me out.

My goal with this article isn't to try to fix the pain inside of you. Rather, my goal is to give you hope and show you how music can be a balm for your wounds. However, I know some wounds run deep.

Please know that it's okay to ask for help. There are so many wonderful resources at your fingertips, and help is available to you. As scary as it might be to take the next step toward healing, it's worth it. We need you here, and your life is beautiful and worth living. Whatever it takes, make the next step in your process of healing. For immediate help, you can text or call 988 and speak directly to a team of counselors who will provide you with the resources you need to grow and thrive. 

Whether your next step is texting that number or reading ahead, I hope you know how loved you are and how brave you are for getting the help and healing that you need. You are valuable, and your life is worth living. I hope the words ahead inspire you, and these songs remind you that there is still hope.

Anxiety - "I Won't Let You Go"

Switchfoot's hit song, "I Won't Let You Go," has been with me through some dark nights. I know firsthand how challenging it can be to live with anxiety and the nightmarish feeling of walking through a panic attack. I've been there many times. In particular, I remember battling a series of panic attacks in the summer of 2021. I knew the truth--I knew I was going to make it, and dawn would come again. But some nights, it felt so hard to believe that truth. I needed an anthem, and I found one in "I Won't Let You Go."

I would lay in bed–heart pounding–letting the words sink deep into my soul: "If you could only let go your doubts, if you could just believe in me now/I swear that I won't let you go/I won't let you go." I listened to those words as if Jesus was in the room, singing them over me. I was scared, but I knew the truth: Jesus wasn't going to let me go.

I've said it before, but I'm going to say it again. If you're battling anxiety right now, please don't ever forget that you're not alone. I know what you're walking through, but most importantly, Jesus knows what you're walking through. Jesus was human in every way, so He knew what it was like to walk through the pit of anxiety. But He came out on the other side of it, and you will too. Hold onto Him because He's holding onto you. And the beautiful truth is, He won't let you go.

Depression - "Hope Is the Anthem"

Something I wish I could tell everyone battling depression is that there is hope. If you're struggling to get out of bed in the mornings and feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, I want you to know that there is still hope beyond this darkness. There is beauty that will come from these ashes. You aren't going to be stuck here forever. In the words of Romans 13:12 (NIV): "The night is nearly over; the day is almost here."

"Hope Is The Anthem" by Switchfoot is one of my favorite songs. It's full of vivid imagery and inspiring lyrics, but the main theme of the song is hope. Life can feel like a fight at times, but this song feels like an anthem for the war. The chorus of the song is a beautiful mantra that says, "My heartbeat, my oxygen/My banner, my home/My freedom, my song/Your hope is the anthem of my soul." Through Jesus, we still have hope.

The pit of depression is dark and very real, but on your darkest days, I hope you can remember the mantra that hope is the anthem of your soul. No matter how dark the night gets, you're not alone. Sorrow and loneliness are not the end of your story. There is still hope, even in this.


Suicidal Thoughts - "Live It Well"

As I said at the beginning of this article, suicide rates are at an all-time high–especially among high school and college students. Personally, suicidal thoughts are not something I've had to face. But I've heard countless stories and seen the faces of so many people who think life would be better off without them. It hurts every time I hear of someone taking their own life. I just wish I could whisper in their ear, "you still matter."

To anyone battling suicidal thoughts, I want to remind you of just how beautiful this place called earth is. Despite the pain and heartache you may be feeling right now, there is still so much to live for. There are still beautiful things in this world, and the creator of this universe still loves you.

God still loves you even when it feels like no one else does. When He saw the world, He thought it would be incomplete without you. He created you to live. Not just live, but thrive. He wants you to live abundantly and enjoy this beautiful planet that we call home.

Switchfoot's song "Live It Well" has a powerful line that says, "I'm living for more than just a funeral." The song goes on to say, "Life is short, I wanna live it well/One life, one story to tell." Pain and grief may be part of your story right now. The days may feel dark. But there is still so much more to live for. Our days on earth are limited as it is–let's choose to live out this life to the fullest. There is still hope, and you matter more than you know. Please, choose to stay.

Insecurity - "Shine Like Gold"
Insecurity might not commonly be thought of as a mental health struggle, but I believe it is. Scrolling on social media, we compare ourselves to our friends with picture-perfect lives on social media. We stare in the mirror and wish we could change who we are, what we look like, or how we dress. Insecurity can be a dark hole–a mental battle to say the least.

A lesser-known Switchfoot song that I love is called "Shine Like Gold." (It features Lifehouse for all of you 2010s rock fans.) My favorite line in the song says, "When the thoughts in your mind are like thieves/And they take you places where love is hard to believe/And the air gets thin and lungs find it harder to breathe/Remember what you know/You shine like gold."

When lies are clouding your mind, remember who you are. Remember how loved you are and how beautiful you are. The truth is, you shine like gold. Who you are is enough. You don't need to change your appearance. There's no one you need to impress. Never forget the truth: you shine like gold.

Trauma - "Dare You To Move"

Perhaps Switchfoot's most famous song is a track called "Dare You To Move." Even if you aren't familiar with the band, you've probably heard the song once or twice. It's a song that has resonated with so many people over the past 20 years, and I thought it matched perfectly with the next topic I want to discuss–trauma.

There's a verse in the song that says, "The tension is here, between who you are and who you could be/Between how it is/And how it should be." You know as well as I do, that this world is broken. Things aren't the way they should be. Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are the byproducts of things not being the way they should. And it can be so hard to move on from the hurt and pain that we feel.

I can't change what you've been through. I can't heal the wounds that you have. And I may not even fully understand the extent of your pain. But there is a God in heaven who loves you and wants to walk with you through your pain and the trauma that you've experienced. Though trauma and pain may be part of your story, I dare you to make a move towards healing. Things aren't the way they should be on this broken planet, but you can still find healing even now. You don't have to stay stuck in your past forever. Again, there is still hope.

Healing will take time, and as I said at the beginning of this article, there are so many amazing resources and organizations to help you out. But you need to take the first step. Go to counseling. Get involved in a community. Open up about your hurt.

I dare you to move to take steps toward healing, whether big or small. It won't be easy, but the beautiful thing is, you aren't going to be alone. Jesus is with you. He knows what it feels like to battle anxiety and depression. He knows what it feels like to be human. He knows the hurt that you feel because He has felt it. And He knows that this is not the end of your story. This is only the beginning.

Today, starting right now, I dare you to move.


Grace Chaves has been a fan of all things Christian music since 2016. She is NRT's news editor, and one of NRT's youngest writers. Homeschooled, Grace is an author, loves Jesus, concerts, and road trips.

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