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Music festival focuses on mental health awareness and suicide prevention

Posted at 10:20 AM, Aug 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 11:20:12-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A music festival Saturday evening will put a spotlight on mental health. The You Matter Music Festival in Overland Park, Kansas, provides a forum for teenagers and young adults to share their stories of depression, anxiety and mental illness.

Sixteen-year-old Will Gurley started the music festival last year. He’s struggled with mental illness and used music as a way to cope and heal. He wants to bring that approach to a larger audience this year.

“Music really brings people together like nothing else does. There is just, to me, nothing like playing a good song or listening to a classic album,” Gurley explained.

Aside from local bands, the festival will feature about 20 mental health advocates, organizations and care providers set up in a mental health resource fair. A representative from the different organizations will have a booth to share information, answer questions and support people struggling with mental illness.

“Last year after I played and spoke, somebody who I had never met before came up to me and gave me a great big hug and said, ‘I really needed to hear this tonight.’ That was really really cool for me just to know we are making a difference,” Gurley said.

The festival takes place at the Blue Valley Northwest High School football field near 135th Street and Switzer Road. It begins at 7 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m. Admission to the event is free. It is open to people of all ages.

For more information about the bands and the event, click here.