(Editor’s Note — September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and there’s work being done in the scene to help make a difference. Sponsors and volunteers are needed. Consider getting involved and please read our story below.)
As September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, some local punk bands are uniting in solidarity by forming “Punks for Prevention: Rock Against Suicide,” a movement that aims to support individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts and mental health.
Work will be ongoing over the next few months to raise awareness, culminating with a benefit show Dec. 1 at Mohawk Place in Buffalo. All proceeds from the 7 p.m. event will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In the meantime, organizers are asking people to visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website and contribute at AFSP.org.
Sponsors and volunteers are also now being sought to help with everything from flyer-design, distribution and postering, to publicity and merchandise.
“Your support directly helps us save lives and brings hope to those affected by suicide,” said Philip 'Flip' Hastings, bassist of The Coffin Dodgers, who organized the Dec. 1 show that will feature Broken Locker, Skyway, 13 dead canaries, Abandoned Trains and Sin Lung (a Washington DC-based band with Buffalo roots).
Hastings, along with Mike Clifford of Broken Locker, are the driving forces behind Punks for Prevention, united by their personal experiences with suicide within their families.
"With September being Suicide Prevention Month, we don’t want to hesitate to get started," Clifford said. “The issue is just too important and has impacted too many lives.”
As part of its initiative, Punks for Prevention is placing focus on combatting the stigma that surrounds suicide and highlighting the pivotal role healthy relationships, and the support of family and friends, play in helping those who are struggling. A partnership also has been forged with Punk Rock Saves Lives and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention of Western New York.
"Events like ‘Punks for Prevention’ prove that when we stand together for a cause, we create a safer, more understanding, and empathetic community," said Tiffany Rolek, area director for the Western New York Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Representatives from Punk Rock Saves Lives and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also will be on-site during the show, offering information about programs, services, volunteering opportunities, and donation channels.
Due to limited capacity of 250 at Mohawk Place, early ticket purchase is advised and can be made online for $13. Tickets can be purchased at punksforprevention.eventbrite.com
“Mohawk Place's generous contribution by lending their venue,” said Hastings, “underscores the collective commitment to this vital cause.”
For tickets and more information, visit punksforprevention.eventbrite.com. If unable to attend, direct donations to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at afsp.org/westernny. Contact Philip 'Flip' Hastings at firstname.lastname@example.org for sponsorship and volunteering opportunities.