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Suicide Prevention Benefit Concert Set For This Fall

The Lyric Oxford hosts “More Than Music” on Nov 30, 2018. Photo courtesy of Katie Kaczmarz.

By Caroline Hewitt
hottytoddy.com contributor
cchewitt513@gmail.com
Katie Kaczmarz, recent Ole Miss graduate and marketing manager of The Lyric Oxford, is combining her marketing skills with her love of music by hosting a suicide prevention benefit concert called “More Than Music” Nov. 30 at The Lyric.
“I lost a friend to suicide last fall, and others I’m close to in Oxford have recently lost friends as well,” Kaczmarz said. “It’s a constant epidemic that we see in our own community and around the country, and I wanted to do something to inspire change. Music brings people together, so I thought this would be a fun way to get the community to take action.”
All proceeds of the event will go to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention. The organization’s mission is to save lives and support individuals affected by suicide by funding research, running educational programs and advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention.
The purpose of the event is not only to raise money for the organization but to bring hope to those affected by suicide. Pam Smith, board member of AFSP, said she has dealt with suicide on a personal level, which inspired her to get involved.
“On May 3, 2015, my son William ‘Scott’ Smith decided to leave this Earth,” Smith said. “What I have learned in the past 29 months is that suicide is an illness that plagues our nation and takes our loved ones, friends, and does not discriminate. My goal is to stay strong and continue to work with AFSP and end the stigma.”
In 2018, 44,965 Americans lost their lives at the hand of suicide, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to AFSP’s website
“My hope is we get more people willing to speak and support each other,” Smith said. “How many people have to commit suicide before it is brought out into the open and made an important issue? The mental health system needs to make this a priority and be responsive to parents and others who are dealing with suicide.”
Photo courtesy of Katie Kaczmarz.

The benefit concert has not officially been announced, however, attendees can expect performances from two musical acts, as well as Dr. Phil Baquie of Oxford Counseling Center, speaking on behalf of the cause.
“The plans have been rolling, but right now, my main focus is in finding more sponsors to cover the costs,” Kaczmarz said. “Having more businesses involved will help us reach our fundraising goals for the foundation.”
Suicide prevention is a cause many Ole Miss students and Oxford residents alike are passionate about. “More than Music” might still be in the early stages of planning, but given the current awareness of suicide in our society, this event should generate interest in our community.
Jessica Tran, president of Active Minds at the University of Mississippi, has volunteered herself and the organization to help this fundraiser. Active Minds is a student organization dedicated to promoting mental health awareness.
“Active Minds is proud to support the suicide prevention benefit concert through every medium we can. Finding creative ways to reach the community is exactly what this type of topic needs,” Tran said. “The more people who are exposed to the very real problem of suicide, the better. The ultimate goal is to destigmatize mental illness and create a culture of positive conversation.”
Kaczmarz said the goal is to come together to celebrate life and inspire hope and change.
“Our community needs this because it is a very real issue,” she said. “People are struggling with this every day, and we need to show them that they are heard.”
For more information on “More than Music,” contact Katie Kaczmarz at katie@thelyricoxford.com.


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