By: Lindsy Carrasquillo
Back in highschool, most of my music taste surrounded what was featured in Alternative Press and in addition to reading the magazine, I’d spend a lot of time watching watching various videos they had on their Youtube channel. A playlist on their channel that stood out to me was “Hope For The Day Presents: Music Saved My Life” which I discovered at some point in 2014. Different artists that I listened to a lot at the time would explain music’s impact on their life in depth and how it led to them being active in the music scene. Each video contained the same overarching message which is HFTD’s motto, “It’s ok to not be ok”. As music has always been a way of seeking understanding and a point of comfort for me, I wanted to know more about Hope For The Day’s involvement in proactive suicide prevention through their outreach and mental health education. I was able to speak to Gracie Ann Fisher who is part of Hope For The Day’s education support staff to learn more.
Hope For The Day is a non-profit organization started by Jonathan Boucher in 2011. Boucher grew just north of Chicago and got involved in music at an early age putting on punk and metal shows. The organization started after Boucher’s boss and mentor, Mike Scanland, died by suicide in 2010. After starting off with printing out flyers and distributing other resources, the organization now tables, holds events and more. Fisher got her start with Hope For The Day in 2014 when she would attend concerts in Chicago and later helped with tabling. HFTD has now worked with a large variety of bands such as Letlive., August Burns Red, Portugal. The Man and many more.
When tabling at different events, Fisher’s favorite part is when she meets someone new and something comes up during their conversation that causes them to open up. “Mental health is just so stigmatized and hard to talk about,” Fisher said. “There’s an immediate response and some people get emotional very quickly.” She says her experiences working with HFTD has led to her meeting a lot of people who have helped her turn her life around as she previously struggled with mental health and appreciates the ability to help others.
As Fisher describes, HFTD has a “heavy foot in the music scene” and because of that, they’ve moved into working with outreach and organization teams and going to schools. “We’re working with developing curriculum with schools and fitting the needs of schools we’ve reached out to in Chicago,” Fisher said.
Recently, Hope For The Day opened the coffee shop Sip Of Hope in Chicago. On their website, it is described as “is the world’s first coffee shop where 100% of proceeds support proactive suicide prevention and mental health education”. As Fisher explained, the idea for the coffee shop came up very quickly as plans started to come together in December of last year and it opened up at the beginning of May. The coffee shop serves Dark Matter Coffee, one of HFTD’s partners in prevention which has been supporting them since 2013.
HTFD has a variety of “Partners In Prevention”, buisnesses, organizations or communities that work with them to “be proactive in taking action and facilitating the conversation on mental health” which includes Live Nation, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and more. For individuals wanting to get involved, they can sign up on HFTD’s website as an “Agent Of Impact” which consists of raising the visibility of resources in their community and they receiving training on how to facilitate conversations regarding mental health.
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