OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Teens and young adults came together Saturday night to address a topic they say is often ignored.
The “You Matter” Music Festival played at Blue Valley Stadium in Overland Park, aiming to put a spotlight on mental health.
“I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety and suicide throughout middle school and high school, so, it hits really close to home to me,” said Will Gurley, the festival’s founder.
This is the second year he has watched his vision come to life. Gurley was only 15 when he started the music festival in 2018.
“The gap was bridged between music and mental illness with logic’s song. 1-800-273-8255. That really sparked something inside of me,” said Gurley.
The evening of local performers and acts was not just about the music. Organizers also highlighted other groups that can help, featuring over a dozen mental health advocates and booths for on-site support and education.
It’s education about a topic some say is needed after a tragic school year in Johnson County.
“In the 2018 and 2019 school year, we lost 15 teens in Johnson County to suicide,” said community outreach facilitator for Speak-Up.org, Jennifer Levinson, “Fifteen is unacceptable. One is too many, and it’s not okay.”
For those in attendance, they say “You Matter” is more than just a festival.
“It means a lot to us that there is an event that actually talks about this, because it needs to be talked about and addressed,” said Blue Valley student, Sam Wright.
Those two words are more than just a saying.
“To me it means, at least in my mind, you matter to at least one person in the world,” said Hunter Smith.
It’s much-needed message that needs to be shared.
“You matter in life and death, so if you were to leave, you would matter to everyone,” said Eden Sokoloff.