Alex Boye He performed at an event in Logan to promote suicide prevention and awareness in 2021. (Emma Fuzz)
Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes
Logan – Why should you bring a friend to an Alex Boy concert on Monday night? It’s free, and it might just save a friend’s life.
This is the second year Cache County has headlined “Turning the Light On” with Utah entertainer Alex Boye. Cache County Executive David Zook said thousands attended last year’s event, and the meaningful turnout made it worthwhile. He said people, including many first responders who consistently serve the community, appreciated the opportunity to talk about their emotional burdens.
This year, the Cache County Fairgrounds in Logan, 450 S. 500 West, will open at 5 p.m., giving attendees more time to visit booths aimed at providing mental health resources and other assistance. Zook said people don’t realize how many areas offer counseling and intervention services.
“We know that when people struggle with mental health or suicidal ideation, they can have better outcomes if they can connect with resources,” he said.
Margaret Gittens, who organized the event, said people may call large organizations like Bear River Mental Health and be told they’re booked, but there are smaller private practices and dozens of them will be manning booths to introduce people to them. Services. Gittens was surprised by how many personal experiences are available in the valley.
First responders, along with police, fire and other emergency medical services, are invited to be in private groups in the event center, while the booths are running outside. Last year, the first responders meeting was held earlier in the evening.
Alex Boye, who is open about his own mental health struggles, sang to the group and talked to them, putting his hand on their shoulders and, according to Gittens, asking them personally, “Are you okay? You have a family. You have to go home.” Many first responders opened up and asked for help. They later told Zook that they appreciated the setting, which helped open up the conversation.
“These guys are fighters,” Boye told KSL.com. These strong men and women may not want to show their feelings publicly, because they may be seen as weak. But now being open is seen as strength.
Boye is scheduled to take the stage at 7 p.m.There will be no opening acts this year, saving two hours for booth interaction and allowing Boye to take the stage earlier than last year at 10 p.m. Boye intends to do the same by singing with his band and connecting with the crowd to deliver a message of hope. He says he plays positive music to make people feel good, and he doesn’t care what time he goes – as long as he’s on stage, he feels good.
I think a lot of times people who suffer from mental illness don’t realize they need help and it’s just the people around them who steer them in that direction.
– Bart Esplin
Bart Esplin lost his son Tyler in 2018. He says it’s important to know people are not alone.
Tyler Esplin was 27 years old and had struggled with depression for years. The most difficult thing to do when someone is suicidal is knowing where to turn. In the four years since his son’s death, more awareness has been created, says Bart Esplin, and it’s gaining momentum.
“I think a lot of times people with mental illness don’t know they need help, and it’s up to the people around them to guide them in that direction,” Bart Esplin said.
Zook said suicide is the leading cause of death for teenagers in Utah, and suicides among middle-aged men are becoming more common. Bart Esplin says that asking a friend or family member about their suicidal thoughts won’t put the thoughts in their head. If they appear, they already were.
Things were tough when Boye was young. He says he used to hide his mental health challenges, but his therapist told him he needed to talk about them—healing comes after he’s released. The British-American player shares his own struggles and says he wants to show that we’re all in the same boat. We’re all screaming inside, and opening up gives permission for other people to open up.
“All my songs are a celebration of life; I want to talk about the good stuff,” Boye said. He said that there were young people who did not want to come to the event last year, but after experiencing it, they did not want to leave.
The event is run by community donations.
Gittens called the event a “celebration of life” and wants people to know there are a lot of people like you — but someone who was touched by suicide. She encourages anyone to reach out and ask for help.
And, maybe a free concert by Alex Boye can help start that conversation.
Suicide prevention resources
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call 988 to connect with the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
- Huntsman Mental Health Institute Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
- SafeUT Crisis Line: 833-372-3388
- 988 suicide and crisis life line in 988
- The Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ youth: 1-866-488-7386
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