Censoring Citalopram

Why anti-depressants are not explicit content

Radio edits are nothing new. Often, they’re completely justified and spare unsuspecting ears from profanity and explicit content. There are some things that just aren’t suitable for the radio. But, anti-depressants aren’t one of them.

A few weeks ago, I was driving with Radio One on. They played a Mallory Knox song, which I had already discovered on Spotify. It originally appeared on the streaming service as “Citalopram” and the final line of the chorus went “My citalopram will pull me through”. I soon noticed the title of the song changed to “Better Off Without You (Citalopram)”. Alright, fair enough. But, then citalopram was dropped entirely from the title. This was a sign of things to come.

As I drove along, the chorus hit and I was astounded to hear that the final line of the chorus had been changed completely to something along the lines of “It’s the price I pay to pull me through”. I was utterly shocked – not only that the radio thought citalopram was inappropriate content, but that the band agreed to change it in the first place. It’s one thing changing the title of the song, but recording a new chorus purely for the radio which completely removes the meaning of it disappointed me so much.

I’m a Mallory Knox fan. I’ve been to see them live and would classify them as one of my favourite UK bands. When I first heard “Citalopram”, I admired their bravery to tackle a subject like depression head on. But, the way the song has transformed has diluted the meaning and admittedly, changed my opinion somewhat. So, like any upset millennial, I tweeted my thoughts…

Mallory Knox tweet

My first tweet on the matter was liked by the band. I wondered whether this meant that they agreed with me, but thought it was a little bizarre considering the tone of my tweet. I’ll admit it was snarky, but I was annoyed. We’re constantly aware of the stigma surrounding mental health and this just proved it for me. The fact that somebody, or most likely a team of people, deemed anti-depressants unfit to be mentioned on the radio is so insulting.

I next broached the issue during a #TalkMH chat in which we were discussing music. I didn’t tag the band, but to my surprise, it was liked by the lead singer (Mikey) and I got a direct response from the bassist, Sam:

Sam Douglas response

While I sympathise with the band that this is the way the industry works, I wish they had stood their ground. It’s all very well saying they didn’t like the decision, but the fact is, they didn’t do anything about it. I’ve been trawling the internet for a mention of this and can’t seem to find anybody addressing why they felt citalopram had to be dropped from the radio edit.

There is nothing shameful about anti-depressants. Citalopram is not a dirty word; it is not a recreational drug; it is not illegal. Citalopram saves lives. I’ll bet a lot of Radio One listeners wouldn’t even know what citalopram was if they heard it mentioned in a song. But, they should. It is more important than ever to raise awareness about mental illness and what treatment is available. It’s often said that nobody should suffer in silence, but what hope is there when medication is considered inappropriate for the public to hear?

Clearly we still have a way to go when it comes to battling the stigma surrounding mental illness. We need to realise that just like everyone has physical health, everyone has mental health too. While some may never suffer from poor mental health, it’s likely that the majority of us will struggle at some point. Let’s face it, life can be difficult. We never know what it’s going to throw at us and how our minds will react. Sometimes we need a helping hand and this should never be seen as a sign of weakness.

So, let’s sing about it and not let others dictate who should hear it. Let’s write about it and not let our words be changed. Let’s speak about it and not let our voices be silenced. Mental health is important. Anti-depressants are important. You are important.

1 Comment

  1. Courtney

    May 8, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    i didnt even know what it was and i have a mental illness which goes to show how censored the world is around mental health

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