Monday, October 5, 2015

Fall Festy Fest Suicide Prevention Benefit

As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression for the better part of 20 years, I’ve learned to gauge the reaction of those who I discuss it with and alter my tone accordingly. Most conversations can be lumped into the following responses:

“When do you get off antidepressants? You won’t have to take those for the rest of your life, will you? Aren’t they just supposed to be used to get through a bad phase?” or “A natural approach of diet, exercise, meditation, and a lightbox can cure depression. You’re just not trying hard enough.” Finally, there are the people who say nothing, but put as much distance as possible between me and them because they fear depression is contagious.

However, between the concern-trolling about my health and being shunned, I will occasionally have a conversation in which someone really listens, often sharing how depression has affected his or her life. It’s difficult to know why people replace their intolerance with understanding, but I am always grateful for those who actively advocate and educate on behalf of the mentally ill. One of these heroes is Stephen Cramer, organizer of Fall Festy Fest, a benefit for Suck It Suicide. Stephen took time from his busy schedule to explain to HID readers why he is so passionate about suicide prevention.

KT- You have done other benefits for mental illness in the past. It must be an issue close to your heart. Do you want to share why?
SC- My mom struggled with mental illness for most of her life. Soon before she died in 2012, she spoke to students at Wayne State about the stigma of mental illness. She was not ashamed of her illness. So, I want to carry the torch for her. I have depression and anxiety myself. Like any disease, mental illness needs to be treated, but too many people never seek help. We lose about 100 Americans each day to suicide. Stigma is responsible for many suicides. I just want to support local nonprofits like Suck It Suicide and others. It's so important that we support people when they are most vulnerable. As human beings, we ought to take care of each other.

KT- Does Suck It Suicide provide suicide prevention services or are they more of an advocacy organization? What is their relationship to Six Feet Over?
SC- Suck It Suicide is the outreach program of the nonprofit Six Feet Over. They connect people with services in the community. They also support families that have had a suicide in the family. They work to destigmatize mental illness. (Ed. Note: See our interview with Kate Hardy for more details)

KT- What has been the response from the musicians and businesses you’ve approached to participate?
SC- Our lineup of bands are excited to help raise money for a good cause. Our business sponsors are involved for the same reason. I'm so thankful for everyone involved.

The three day festival runs October 8th, 9th, and 10th at PJ’s Lager House. The line-up includes Invisible Things, Ancient Language, and DUENDE! Cover is $8 per day. The Detroit Fest LLC will be organizing more festivals in 2016. Interested musicians, volunteers and business sponsors can email Stephen at


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