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Music channel becomes mental health portal

photo of a boy with his back to the camera walking along a beach
photo of a boy with his back to the camera walking along a beach Image credit: youtube.com

The title of YouTube channel imlonely says it all, Hunter launched the service after feeling isolated, although as word spread on its appeal the man behind the project for lonely people now has thousands of new subscribers listening to his music.

Initially conceived as a platform to share his tracks, such as an Ariana Grande mix of 7 Rings and a mash-up of Best Party by Daniel Ceaser, Hunter’s channel has grown into a community for those suffering from mental health, helping young people through difficult times.

The 23-year-old from Wales is battling with anxiety himself, putting him in an ideal position to help others going through similar mental health conditions.

He told the BBC: "What I'd name them actually is family. They feel like they're part of something."

Explaining how he set imlonely up in the first place Hunter said: "I just started it as a mood board for myself.

"My taste in music has always been based on feeling rather than genre."

The channel is now a popular service for young people aged between 13 and 24, seven million of which have viewed the Ariana Grande track.

Visitors to imlonely leave messages saying how they can relate their emotions and feelings to the music videos, which in turn gives advice to other users.

They leave comments such as "It gets better", "You are amazing", "Keep going".

One person wrote: "I stayed up all night overthinking and beating myself up with no control over it but this [Imlonely] helped me calm down and focus."

Another said: "Is it just me who is all happy during the day but, when night comes, you let all of your emotion out? I'm crying every night at the moment and I don't know why."

Knowing he is helping others Hunter takes great comfort his channel is giving youngsters a lifeline through the pandemic and forming online friendships.

He said: "A lot of people don't have anyone to talk to at home or school.

"They'll vent about problems they're having with friends or parents. Personally, if I had something like that, back when I was younger, I feel like I wouldn't have had anywhere near as many problems as I did with feeling anxious and not talking about it."

Instructor in global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr John Naslund has researched the positive impact social media can have on users despite the negative press it receives related to mental health.

Naslund said: "One of the first studies I did was to look at the comments posted on these types of YouTube videos, to break down some of the misconceptions that it's entirely a negative environment, actually, there's really, really positive energy on these groups.”

He added for many people “going online and finding stories of other people who've had similar experiences can be incredibly validating and inspiring".

And nobody knows that better than Hunter!

You can subscribe to the imlonely channel on YouTube.