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Mountain America and America First Credit Unions Partner with Alex Boye for Mental Health Awareness

SALT LAKE CITY — Crowds made their way to the Maverik Center on Friday, May 13, 2022, to attend a free Alex Boyé concert sponsored by Mountain America Credit Union and America First Credit Union in partnership with other local entities to help shed light on suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

The Bend Not Break Foundation concert, presented by the Cook Center for Human Connection and backed by two of Utah’s largest not-for-profit financial institutions and other local entities, including Healing Hearts, Golden Healer Service Dogs and the Healing Tree. It aimed to build connection, healing and community support by sharing a message of hope and awareness for those struggling with mental illness and considering suicide.

“Music saved my life and I know it can do the same for others, which is why I do these concerts,” said Alex Boyé, an artist known for his dynamic, African-infused music and mental health advocacy. “The lives [of the people that attend these concerts] are blessed and changed, it’s just mind blowing.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Utah has the ninth highest suicide rate in the United States, and nationally, approximately 800,000 people die by suicide every year.

In addition to concertgoers, the Cook Center for Human Connection foundation invited local mental health organizations and therapists to set up booths to share information and resources about suicide and emotional well-being.

“At the end of the day everyone needs help, and we just want people to know that people care about them, that their lives are worth living and that they can keep on going,” said Jenna Cook, a community outreach specialist for the Cook Center for Human Connection.

Cook and over 30 other groups volunteered outside the stadium and in the Maverik Center leading up to Boyé’s free performance, handing out flyers and sharing information with attendees on how to cope with mental health struggles and suicidal ideation.

“Credit unions are not-for-profit financial organizations dedicated to improving the lives of their members,” said Sterling Nielsen, CEO of Mountain America Credit Union. “Our hope is that by combining efforts with America First Credit Union, we can increase awareness about this important national public health issue while raising money to provide the resources needed to educate and help those struggling with thoughts of suicide.”

Boyé formally opened the concert by sharing a message with the audience about hope and invited them to support suicide prevention and the Bend Not Break Foundation. The America’s Got Talent alumni then performed songs about hope and strength, including “Still Breathing” and “Bend, Not Break.”

People of all ages and backgrounds attended the event, including Laurie Dunn, a high school counselor from Gunnison, Utah, who felt inspired to attend the concert with her family members and friends after she and other members of her school recently lost a student to suicide.

"My daughters, my sons, every one of them has gone through emotional trauma of being teenagers, struggling and feeling like they don't belong and thinking, ‘Do I really matter?’” she said. “I think everybody needs that message that there's always somebody who you can reach out to, to get help.”

People interested in supporting the Bend Not Break Foundation can donate by visiting the foundation’s website.


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