The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with 2,500 member organizations, serving 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. www.TheNationalCouncil.org.
Shaun Morgan was awarded The National Council’s 2016 Artistic Expression Impact Award of Excellence. The National Council will award $10,000 to The Rise Above Fund at Suicide Awareness Voices of Education on Morgan’s behalf. The Artistic Expression Award is given to individuals who have shown positive impact on the mental health society through the form of artistic expression. The lyrics to Seether’s song, “Rise Above This,” inspired the creation of the annual Rise Above Fest, which held its first headline concert in 2012. Through Shaun’s personal struggles with suicide, leadership and inspiring music, the Rise Above Fest has raised more than $100,000 for suicide prevention and mental health programs throughout the U.S.
Seven and a half years ago, I lost my brother, Eugene, to suicide. The devastation I felt was indescribable. I spent many nights in drug- and alcohol-induced stupors, isolating and numbing myself to the pain, all while fighting off my own suicidal thoughts.
After many years, I decided to turn this awful experience into something meaningful, and perhaps beautiful, to honor his memory. Music has always been my expression and my outlet, so I wrote the song “Rise Above This” for Eugene.
I wanted to help those who suffer silently behind closed doors and drawn curtains. I wanted to raise awareness to their plight, and our Rise Above Fest seemed to be the answer.
In the last three years, we have managed to raise more than $100,000 for suicide awareness groups, and I feel that we have started breaking down the wall of secrecy and shame that is built so solidly around people with mental illness. We have donated over 750 tickets to veterans and spread our message to millions around the world.
Thank you for this award. It represents the most important achievement of my life, to date.
I think Robert Browning said it best – “He who hears music, feels his solitudes peopled at once.” Thank you.