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Area Musicians to Participate in “Dissonance: Mental Health and Music” Conversation/Concert Event at McNally Smith

In observance of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, McNally Smith College of Music presents a special conversation/concert entitled Dissonance: Mental Health and Music on Friday, September 20th at 12:00 p.m. in the Auditorium. The free event — an annual forum focused on the topics of suicide, mental illness and substance abuse — is hosted by Sarah Souder Johnson (Director of McNally Smith’s Counseling Services), moderated by Adam Levy (McNally Smith’s Creative Industry Coordinator and frontman for the Honeydogs), and features special guest speakers/performers Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack, Johnny Solomon and Molly Moore of Communist Daughter and Holly Hansen of Zoo Animal.

Johnson hopes Dissonance will help spread awareness about campus and community resources for students grappling with mental health issues in their lives. ”The idea of struggling with mental illness or addiction is often almost glamorized in music and in art,” says Johnson. “These struggles are not specific to musicians but they are prevalent in the music community — and for college students everywhere — and to open up a conversation is a good thing.”

Are musicians predisposed to increased susceptibility regarding mental illness and addiction? “There’s a lot of research being done on the creative mind and mental health/mental illness,” Johnson says. “But there’s nothing definitive. It’s a chicken and egg type of thing. Are musicians creative and therefore more likely to become depressed? Or are they depressed and find that creativity is a healing outlet?”

Levy, Pierre, Solomon, Moore and Hansen will discuss their experiences with mental health-related issues, and each will perform songs that speak to their personal trials and triumphs. Almost 2 years ago, Levy lost his 21-year-old son, Daniel, to suicide following a long battle with mental illness. “It’s important that we continue the dialogue,” says Levy, who also spoke at last year’s Dissonance event. “Nobody who will be stage is an expert on mental health, but as musicians, we need to rally and speak out on the stigmas surrounding self-care and mental well-being.”

Dissonance: Mental Health and Music
Friday, September 20th, 12:00–1:00 p.m.
McNally Smith Auditorium
19 East Exchange Street, St Paul MN 55101
(Mental Health Resources Expo runs from 11:30 a.m.–1:30p.m. outside the Auditorium)