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Guitar Hero: A Cowboy’s Straight Talk on Bipolar Disorder
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BP Hope – Hope and Harmony for People with Bipolar Disorder

By Stephanie Stephens
Last Updated: 5 Nov 2020

Country musician Jason DeShaw combines his songs and his personal story to bring awareness of mental health challenges to audiences across Big Sky country.

rowing up in rural Montana, Jason DeShaw set his eyes on the prize of country music stardom. Inspired by legends like Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, he was writing songs, playing guitar, and looking for opportunities to perform while still in college.

He dates his “official” start in the music business to a sold-out show at Helena’s Myrna Loy Theater in 2003—the same year he graduated.

After doing the college concert circuit, he moved to Nashville for a couple years and got himself an agent. He got some notice and some prestigious gigs, opening for big-name acts like the Oak Ridge Boys, Little Big Town, and Jason Isbell. Even after relocating back home to work with his dad, he spent most of his time on the road, touring across the U.S. and in Europe.

A career based on constant traveling, an erratic schedule, and easy access to alcohol wasn’t ideal after DeShaw had his first manic episode in 2010. He kept it up for a while, recruiting a friend he calls “Big John” to drive him to his shows when he just couldn’t handle it. He released his fifth album, Atmosphere, in 2012, studio-produced with a roster of veteran backup players.

Within a year, though, DeShaw re-directed his guitar, song list, and laid-back charm toward another lofty goal: becoming an ambassador for folks with mental health challenges, while challenging the stereotypes of cowboy culture.

Now when he ambles out on stage and utters “Howdy,” he might go on to introduce himself as a “bipolar country-singing son of a gun.” He wants to call attention to his mental health condition while also establishing some normalcy around it.

Read the full article at https://www.bphope.com/my-story-guitar-hero-jason-deshaw/


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The Treatment Scout website helps people find effective inpatient, residential, and other types of intensive mental health and substance abuse care. Find out more at  https://www.treatmentscout.com/

\NAMI Montana has a resource guide on our website for every county in Montana. Please let us know if anything needs to be updated for your county.  http://www.namimt.org/county-resource-guides.html

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