Around 30 people attended the Stettler Performing Arts Centre for an evening of music and reflection on Jan. 26.
The event everyone was there for was the fourth edition of “Music for Mental Health,” a fundraiser in support of Stettler’s The Wellness House.
Organized by Lesa Miller, a former Stettler resident, the fundraising event honours the memory of her daughter Kalysta, who died by suicide six years ago.
“Fourteen is a scary age for me,” said Miller.
“Konour (Miller’s son) tried to take his life. All the kids dealt with suicidal ideation. He was heartbroken from the loss of his sister.”
Miller herself said that she battled with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the loss of her daughter.
“I though I was the worst mom ever.”
Ultimately, Miller has been finding new ways to survive and heal; Music for Mental Health and bringing awareness to this subject often left discussed in hushed whispers in the shadows out into the open is one way she has been healing.
For the musical portion of the evening, Stettler’s own The Trailer Park Queens played a set of nine contemporary country hits.
Tobi Vos played lead guitar while Marci Spady backed her up with the tambourine, and both ladies split duties with the vocals.
Song picks included The Chicks hit Wide Open Spaces and Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats.
Once the music finished, there was a moment of silence held to honour those who had lost their lives to suicide before the evening’s guest speaker, Kristopher Marks, took the stage.
Marks is a former tradesman, mental health advocate, musician and suicide survivor himself.
Over the course of a little more than an hour, Marks shared his story through spoken word and through song.
“The hardest thing I ever did was being honest with myself,” said Marks.
Marks was candid as he discussed his suicide attempt, how it changed him and pushed him to seek therapy, something he did for eight years.
“I 10-10 recommend it,” Marks laughed during his discussion, before turning serious again.
“You’ve got to embrace the pain.”
Funds raised from the 2023 edition of the Music for Mental Health is going towards Stettler’s The Wellness House counselling Centre to help fund counselling for youth.