On Friday night, local rock music and health awareness bands filled Bergfeld Park in Tyler. The collaborative concert event came together with the goal of raising awareness among East Texas community members about suicide prevention through a vision of local nonprofit organization Tiny Evie Rocks.
Michael Domingos, co-founder and executive director of Tiny Evie Rocks, said the event was born out of a desire to address the need for mental health and suicide awareness in East Texas.
Awareness is a big thing for Domingos as he lost his 12 year old laughter Evie three years ago due to suicide which initially influenced him and his wife to start the association non-profit.
“Evie loved rock music. So with his love of music and his desire to raise awareness about mental health, it seemed like a logical choice,” he said.
Once the idea was thrown into the air of wanting a concert but also a place to raise awareness, mental health organizations were ready to come together for the event, Domingos said.
According to Domingos, the main idea of the event was to start the conversation on a very important but overlooked topic in East Texas.
“The most important thing, I think, is that it’s really a talking point for the town of Tyler, because you hear the music and you see the band, but the most important thing is that it’s a talking point. conversation for the community where you hear the bands, and you come and see what’s going on. Then you hear the story behind the gig, you hear about mental health, and then there are all these resources,” a he said “So for those struggling with mental health this is an opportunity to learn or have a conversation with all of these organizations it just helps the community for those struggling with mental health mental health and helps them see that they are not alone.”
Domingos is determined to shine a light on mental health with the belief that his daughter Evie would want them to help others who are struggling.
“We like to say, Evie would want us to think that or want us to know that, it’s not just a small group of people struggling with mental health,” he said.
Domingos is determined to show Tyler that there are many local groups and resources for those struggling with mental health issues.
Another person keen to raise awareness was musical artist Lisa Lane who performed with fellow artists Chloe Moore, The HoJames Band and Panik Device.
Lane mentioned that as soon as she found out about the event, it was a yes from her, especially since the event happened near her home.
“I perform all over East Texas and it’s something close to my heart. My dad killed himself when I was little and since then nobody really talks about it, it’s kind of like something that you don’t really brag about,” she said. “I think it’s really good that the community has come together and I hope it continues every year to let people know that there’s people who want you to be here and that there is hope and help for you in the community.”
Knowing the importance of reminding others of their worth, Lane hopes those who attended the event know they are loved and that there are places to seek help, she said.
“I hope at least they know there is someone to turn to if you have problems and need help, that there are organizations that are there to help you and that there are people here who love you. If you don’t have that at home, you will have it somewhere in the community,” she said.
Lane mentioned that one of his favorite things about the event was seeing the unit on Friday night.
“The world is pretty tough right now and it’s reassuring to know that there are people in Tyler who can come together and be friends with each other and help each other through things. I think Tyler really needs it,” she said.
The list of sponsors for the event included Tyler’s Andrews Behavioral Health Center, Neurodivergent Advocates of East Texas and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – East Texas Chapter.
Advocates who were on hand at the event included NAMI Tyler, Counseling Nook for Trauma, Mission 22, Smith County Clubhouse, TAG, East Texas Police Department’s Mosaic Counseling Centers, Clover Educational Consulting Group and UT Tyler Agrisafe.
Besides information services and musical performances, attendees also enjoyed food from local food trucks.