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Vernon  

Coping with mental health

Almost 2,000 students and teachers from 14 schools in Armstrong, Lumby and Vernon turned out for the powerful message of The Robb Nash Project.
 
Hundreds of community members came out for an additional performance last Wednesday night from the musician at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre.

The shows were presented by Canadian Mental Health Association – Vernon and District Branch as part of its youth suicide prevention programming.

“What started out as a nine-month tour has continued for nearly 10 years,” said Nash. “We are not trying to change the world, we are trying to create world-changers."

Following a life-threatening car crash where his vehicle collided with a semi-truck, Nash found himself dealing with mental and physical pain.   

Soon after he started reaching out to youth through rock music and lyrics, encouraging them to explore their own meaning and purpose in a language they understood.
 
The interactive performance shone a light pursuing strength through addiction, bullying, self-harm and suicide.
 
“It was encouraging to see teens who had been to a school show bring their parents and friends to the community performance,” said Julia Payson, CMHA executive director.  “Our youth are thirsting for support, a sense of purpose and opportunity to shine."

Nash works with youth, teachers and parents to create inspirational music, videos and stories.
 
“Youth also have an incredible desire to help others and make a better community,” said Payson.  “When we work together, we can build a foundation of strength so those days when their pain seems overwhelming, there are people of fortitude around to support them and guide them in moving forward.”
 
“There are four stages to life; survival, stability, success and significance,” said Nash. “Lots of people stop at success then wonder why they aren’t happy.  You have to have a purpose.”
 
“I tell stories because stories have power."



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