September 17, 2015, 03:10 pm
By Judy Kurtz
His vocals can be heard on countless records, but now Brian Wilson is lending his voice to something else: mental health awareness.
The Beach Boys co-founder was at the National Press Club in Washington on Thursday to announce a partnership between “Love & Mercy,” a film about his life and struggle with mental illness, and Change Direction, a campaign that aims to “change the story” about mental health.
“Mental illness has been part of my life for at least 45 years, 50 years,” Wilson, 73, told the crowd during a panel discussion alongside his wife, Melinda, and cast and crew from the film.
“I’ve had auditory hallucinations, ongoing, voices talking to me constantly,” he explained.
Melinda Wilson expressed optimism that bringing both the biopic and cause to Washington might catch the attention of those working in Congress.
“I would be willing to bet that some of these lawmakers have mental illness either in their family or friends. And again, bringing it to the forefront is what’s going to change the culture,” she said.
Melinda Wilson, who’s been married to the chart-topper more than 20 years, added that “people need to talk about it. Until they start to talk about it, it’s just going to be status quo.”
While the “Good Vibrations” singer admitted he “doesn’t watch politics very much” and the nation’s capital doesn’t inspire him in terms of songwriting, he said being in Washington can motivate him to do more work on mental health and illness awareness with Change Direction.
“It’s inspirational because it makes me happy to put my name involved in it.”