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Red Deer singer leads concert for mental health

Red Deer Advocate - 10/7/2017

Red Deer singer and songwriter Ryan Langlois knows musical success.

The former Boom Chucka Boys frontman also knows what it is like to struggle with mental health and chronic pain.

His experience on all fronts led him to creating Voice. Guitar. Song., an evening of music and stories on Oct. 11 told in support of mental health and wellness initiatives underway at Olds College.

"I have wrestled for years with mental illness and chronic pain," says Langlois in a statement announcing his upcoming event. "Unfortunately, in my case both feed off each other.

"Although I was never alone, I felt like I was, and just couldn't bring myself to admit the reality of the situation.

"Often when we are open and honest it welcomes others to do the same and to be reassured they are not alone."

Langlois said with counselling, the support of friends and family and through his music he is "on the road to being myself again."

When he approached Olds College with his event idea, they immediately saw the potential for building awareness about mental health and to incorporate it into the college's new wellness campaign.

"I was thrilled," he says. "I wanted a voice and they are helping me have it."

A 2016 National College Health Assessment found that one in five post-secondary students in Canada reported feeling anxious, depressed or have admitted to battling other mental health issues.

"It is crucial that everyone keeps talking about mental health and wellness," says Cassidy Kirsch, president of the Students Association of Olds College.

"Everyone has a connection to mental health and wellness. We all know somebody who has struggled with depression, anxiety, addiction, stress disorders, or one of dozens of other classifications of mental health issues."

Langlois will be joined by some of Alberta's best independent musicians, including Mikaila Cooper, Blake Reid, Ken Stead and Olds College Agriculture Management instructor Dustin Farr.

The event takes place at The Crossing Restaurant and Pub on campus. Proceeds will go to the college's Beyond: Community Wellness Campus .

Tickets cost $10 each and are available online at . For Olds students the cost is $5. Tickets are also available at the students association office on campus. Doors open at 5 p.m. and music starts at 6 p.m.

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