Sept. 4, 2018

UCalgary hosts suicide awareness concert Mysterious Barricades on Sept. 7

Nationwide concerts impart message of hope and healing
UCalgary concert organizer Laura Hynes rehearses for Mysterious Barricades performance on Sept. 7.
UCalgary concert organizer Laura Hynes rehearses for Mysterious Barricades performance on Sept. 7. School of Creative and Performing Arts

Three years ago, Elizabeth Turnbull suffered two tragic losses to suicide. While the magnitude of such a tragedy could easily become all-consuming, Turnbull chose to focus on hope, transforming a heartbreaking experience into a national campaign dedicated to suicide awareness.

Through an annual, free concert series held in cities across the nation, Mysterious Barricades addresses the barriers between mental illness and health, including stigma around seeking support. By communicating messages of healing and hope through music, the campaign encourages open discourse about suicide awareness and prevention measures.  

"I think people who struggle with mental health issues feel alone,” says Turnbull. “This community of artists and musicians — we hear you, we see you and we don't want you to feel alone."

While each city presents a unique concert, recordings of the events are compiled into a unified video, beginning at dawn in the East Coast and ending as the sun sets in Vancouver. This year’s video will be streamed on the Mysterious Barricades website on September 15.

UCalgary hosts Mysterious Barricades concert Sept. 7

For the second consecutive year, UCalgary is hosting a Mysterious Barricades concert, led by the School of Creative and Performing Arts, with support from the Campus Mental Health Strategy and SU Wellness Centre.

Above, UCalgary concert organizer Laura Hynes rehearses for Mysterious Barricades performance on Sept. 7.

“There is nothing like music to illuminate a complicated piece of what it means to be human,” says UCalgary’s concert organizer Dr. Laura Hynes, DMA, assistant professor of voice in the School of Creative and Performing Arts. “Music allows us to reflect on how any of us might be touched by mental illness and gives us the chance to raise our voices in a chorus of support for those who struggle.”

Open to the public, this year’s free event begins at 4 p.m. on Sept. 7 with a special pre-concert activity in the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall of the Rozsa Centre. Drawing inspiration from Mysterious Barricades’ theme of finding light within darkness, attendees will have an opportunity to create a personalized paper lantern before the concert begins at 5 p.m.   

Community partners, including the Centre for Suicide Prevention, Wood’s Homes, Distress Centre Calgary and the Canadian Mental Health Association, will be on-site, offering support and resources.

“Partnering with organizations like Mysterious Barricades presents an opportunity to open up the conversation about suicide and the prevention measures available in a new way,” says Andrew Szeto, director of the Campus Mental Health Strategy. “Creating safe spaces where our community can have open conversations, connect with resources and support one another is a big step towards reducing stigma and ensuring people can access help when they need it.”

Register here for Mysterious Barricades, a free concert at 4 p.m. on Sept. 7 in the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, Rozsa Centre.

Unable to attend? View the events online from dusk until dawn on Sept. 15 on the Mysterious Barricades website.

The University of Calgary’s Campus Mental Health Strategy is a bold commitment to the importance of mental health and well-being of our university family. Our vision is to be a community where we care for each other, learn and talk about mental health and well-being, receive support as needed, and individually and collectively realize our full potential. If you think you need help, please visit resources here. If you think someone you know needs help, find more information here.