Music for Change

BV sophomore organizes music festival to spread mental health awareness

Music+for+Change

Noma Kreegar, Editor in Chief

In the past few years, the Blue Valley community has experienced a teen suicide epidemic, with the suicide rate in Johnson County increasing by 70% from 2006 to 2016, according to Jocogov.org. The suicide rate in Kansas is higher than the national average, with Johnson County being number one in the state.

The You Matter festival, which took place on August 11 of this year, aimed to create a positive environment to discuss mental health awareness and suicide prevention, according to the founder and president of the festival, sophomore Will Gurley. The festival featured on-site resources for those who needed to talk to someone or needed help.

 

“I myself have struggled with depression and anxiety,” Gurley said. “I know what it feels like when you can’t talk to anybody, and I think that it’s really important to be able to talk.”

Gurley said that his inspiration for the festival stemmed from rap artist Logic’s song, 1-800-273-8255. The song, which addresses the suicide epidemic across the nation, struck a nerve with Gurley.

“[It] made me realize that I needed to do something positive for our community, and I knew that music was the way to go,” Gurley said.

Gurley said that he aimed to create a safe space for conversation at the festival, which he hopes will become annual moving forward.

“I hope they [found] a safe space for conversation,” Gurley said. “I hope they [came] and [had] a really great time with all of the amazing music.”