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Mysterious Barricades. The can’t-miss 18-hour concert event of a lifetime that breaks with dawn in St. John’s, Newfoundland and wraps with dusk in Victoria, BC on September 10, 2016 – World Suicide Prevention Day. It is the manifestation of one woman’s experience-borne passion for suicide prevention advocacy, awareness and destigmatization.

It’s name – Mysterious Barricades – refers to music (it’s a well-known piece of French Baroque music) also serves as the anchor for the group’s mission statement. They aim to “raise awareness of the mysterious barricades between mental illness and health, between utter darkness and a flicker of hope, between life and death.”

For those who can’t attend in person the entire event will be live-streamed on the Internet via their website and projected on large screens at each venue from beginning to end. Regardless of where you are, we encourage all Canadians, and those listening around the world, to join us in this conversation.

The concert series harkens back to the days of the telethon, when people came together to support their friends and family and raise funds for a cause. Unfortunately, some causes are less visible the others; suicide prevention has been a taboo subject for far too long. Mysterious Barricades, alongside CASP, will help make this discussion one that takes place in every home, workplace, and institution, everywhere that people interact.

It’s an issue that event president Elizabeth Turnbull didn’t think much about until it was too late. Her late husband Chris died by suicide after a long struggle with mental illness, specifically stress and anxiety disorder. Following his death she sought counselling to help work through her grief and trauma. It took her some time to find suitable and qualified help, but in addition to the support of a knowledgeable counsellor, she also wanted to seek her own healing and recovery by standing up for more support for those affected by suicide. She turned to her network of friends and colleagues in the classical vocal and musical community to create what is now the Mysterious Barricades event. “I have so many amazing friends who are extremely talented and giving, and they have all agreed to do make this project happen with me. On each concert stage and through the power of the Internet, we will connect across our vast country. Together, we will find healing, raise awareness and share the joy of music,” she explained.

The concert is a space for people to raise their voices in song, and discussion, to speak out loud what so many keep hidden away, helping to take the stigma out of suicide and one of it’s causes – mental illness. World Suicide Prevention Day is a chance for the community to do so on a global scale. Funds raised will go towards the education and support of at risk individuals and those affected by suicide. Members from organizations with knowledge in suicide prevention will be stationed at all venues providing support and resources.

Turnbull further emphasizes the need for people experiencing suicidal thoughts or those who have lost someone to look for support, at the event or elsewhere; she adds that it’s what “CASP and support groups are for.” Creating awareness by discussing mental health and suicide in an open forum where people won’t be judged for their opinions is very important; no one is alone in this.

Lastly, she emphatically stresses the need to think positively as a way to continue living life. “I am actively and consciously choosing to focus on the good things around me, because it is far too easy – but in the end not helpful or productive – to choose to live a life governed by sadness and negativity.” Mysterious Barricades is one more place that we can do just that and help other who might be having a tougher go. Talking about thoughts and feelings, sharing emotions, experiencing the joy of song and the love of a community and making new friends are ways that we can truly take her words to heart. Helping each other break down these mysterious barricades is a song we should all know the words to.


Visit the Mysterious Barricades website for more information on times, venues, performers, and how to show support.

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