Story by Wanda Callagy .
Music is one of the strongest forces of communication and is capable of changing our thoughts, our emotions, our outlook on life. It is a great teacher and healer.
The “Music for the Mind” benefit concert was held at Revolution Hall in Troy back in August, organized by Casey LeCuyer in an effort to honor her brother, Gage, and to assist in the awareness of suicide prevention. The fundraiser featured several Local 518 bands – including Soul Sky, Knot Dead and the Mike McMann Band – who donated their time and talent, playing to a large crowd and encouraging those in attendance to be part of the Out of the Darkness Walk to be held in September in Saratoga Springs.
Marianne Reid, Survivor Outreach Program Coordinator for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in the Capital Region, was on hand to offer contact information and assistance. Suicide is a public health issue, she explained, encouraging folks to be aware of the resources available close by to assist in a crisis, with questions, and to offer support.
“The event itself was amazing, and so many people in a short amount of time created something that provided hope and spread the word,” said Reid.
The Out of the Darkness Walk was held last month at the Saratoga Raceway, and folks were there to walk alongside someone struggling, or to support someone in their loss. The weather was perfect, and the record high in donations surpassed any since the walk began in 2007.
The musicians at the “Music For the Mind” benefit were friends of Gage, or they were there to help educate, as suicide of a loved one has touched them personally.
Mark Emanatian, vocalist-guitarist with Soul Sky, said that the benefit was important to him as he believes every suicide affects us all..
“Whether it is a family member or in my circle of friends, it worries me that people feel that hopeless, and we are all touched by it,” said Emanatian. “We were there to support this family and others, and to spread the word that help is help out there.”
Guitarist Joe Mele played with Soul Sky in an effort to just be there to help families in any way. His son Dustin died by suicide six months ago.
“I wanted to play at this event and do whatever I can to help and support this family,” said Mele. “No one really knows how I feel after my own loss. There are no easy answers, and you wonder if it is the change in family values, or just in the changes in the world today. I wonder how much people really talk, and if they have someone to listen.”
For more information, contact the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at the Capital Region Chapter at (518) 791.1544. A free, 24/7 service can provide suicidal persons around them with support, information and local resources at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273.TALK (8255).