Do me a favor and save this date, Saturday, Oct. 16, for the first annual (I have to assume this will become a thing) Reaching Out: A Fundraiser for Suicide Prevention and Awareness. I should also let you know that this event will take place at the Missipi Brew located in downtown Muscatine and features live music by the band Fueled By Emo, a tribute to Paramore and Fall Out Boy (for those unfamiliar, they are bands).
My friends, Chase Sywassink and Andrew “Skippy” Armstrong are behind this fundraiser that will support NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness). Chase and I have had several conversations over the years about creative ways to raise money and awareness for mental health in our community. We kicked around ideas from a big and tall guy calendar, but ultimately the decision was made to go with a concert, which saves me the worry of having to pose in a bathing suit!
My personal hope is that we’re able to remove the stigmas associated with mental health awareness. I love what appears on the NAMI of the Greater Mississippi Valley’s website, “The greatest gift we can give you and your loved ones are mental health education, advocacy, help, and hope.” NAMI does an incredible job helping to provide: mental health tools, signs of mental illness, direction on how to get a diagnosis, early detection help, treatment options, social-emotional learning, and much more.
My personal hope is to always be considered someone that my family, friends, and strangers can contact when they need a friend. While I personally do not have any mental health struggles, I know so many folks that do and that need to be supported. Now more than ever, we need to be there for one another and spread kindness and hope in a world that can oftentimes feel hopeless.
While I certainly want this event to be a success, I’d like to also see an increase in mental health awareness continue to be a priority for Muscatine. I want to live and work in a community that doesn’t shy away from talking about mental health. In the past few years, we’ve taken steps in the right direction, and this fundraiser continues down that path. I also know that I certainly do not have all the answers, but again that’s where a resource like NAMI can really help. Here’s their website, NAMIGMV.org, and phone number (563) 386-7477 extension #266.
Back to the concert; please plan on attending this local event and showing your support. I’m thankful to have been included in the planning process by Chase and Skippy and plan to do all that I can to ensure it is a success.