Pray for Sleep is comprised of young adults from Westerville with shared passions for music and mental health awareness. Hayden, the guitarist, saw a video of the drummer, Reno, playing at a parade. Hayden reached out to Reno, and they started jamming together. Their mission is to bring a positive message to a seemingly dark world and remind people that they aren’t alone.
Recently, we had an opportunity to ask questions of Pray for Sleep’s lead vocalist, Grant DeCrane. Our questions and his answers are below.
A: Absolutely! We love what you are doing, and any chance we get to work with people that have a similar heart and passion as we do, we always jump at the opportunity. It is an amazing chance not only for us to play to a new crowd, but more importantly to reach people that need to hear a positive message and show them that there is hope.
Q: We’ve read that your band members have dealt with depression and anxiety and you use your music to give young people a voice. Why is it important to talk about mental health? Why did you open up about your experience?
A: Mental health has always had some taboo connotations to it, but it’s a topic that needs to be spoken about. We realized all of us suffered the most when we were silent, or felt like we were alone. We’ve lost friends and family members to these issues because they felt like they couldn’t talk about it with anyone, and they had to just suffer on their own until it became too much to bear.
We realized if it was too hard for the people that are hurting to reach out, we could start reaching out to the hurting instead. We shared our stories to encourage people, show them that they aren’t alone in their struggles, and say that there is hope in all situations. None of us are 100% healed and healthy, but we’re on that journey of recovery, and we want everyone to feel welcome to join us. We want people to be open with how they are feeling, not just giving shallow and hollow answers when people ask how they are, but being willing to admit that they aren’t okay at the moment, and even asking for help if need be. Honest conversation about mental health is a simple way to start shining a light on this dark situation we find ourselves in, and it’s something our society desperately needs.
Our biggest goal is to see the numbers of depression, anxiety and suicide on the decline rather than incline, to not lose any more friends, or family members, or school mates, or co-workers because they felt too alone to continue this life, and to bring hope and comfort to the hurting.
Q: What does youth empowerment mean to you?
A: We noticed right away that people were interested in what we had to say, partially because it was different, but also partially because we were young. Empowering more and more young people to speak out and take the lead in this recovery is such an integral part of the change we want to see. Without young people invested in and leading the effort to change, things will lose steam, so the fact that you push that and prioritize that is a huge deal. We always encourage young people to take the lead and step out and be the change they want to see, and it is so hugely encouraging seeing others doing the same thing.
Q: What do you mean with your “We Are Not Alone” message. What connections do you see between the We Are The Majority Rally message and this message?
A: We call our fans “insomniacs” and build our community around the love of music and the fact that we are going through some things that might be hard to talk about. The whole message of “We Are Not Alone” is meant to let people know we are all in this together (“We”) and don’t have to go through these things by ourselves (“Are Not Alone”). We spend time after shows talking to people and sharing our stories. Spending part of our show talking about our struggles has really connected with people who may be struggling. If we can do it in front of hundreds of people, it makes it easier for one person to reach out to another one.
They both have the same general point; whatever you’re dealing with, or committing to, there are people that stand beside you and behind you to support you when things are difficult, and the people around you are what is going to make the difference in this life.