Aug 13, 2012

Erin Thomas and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

I stopped in Columbia on my way home from my 30th high school reunion Sunday night to hear my friend's daughter sing a little ditty along the rushing waters where the Saluda and Broad rivers come together to form the Congaree.

Nashville recording artist Erin Thomas performed at the West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater as part of an event promoted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, kicking off a walk that will honor victims of suicide and help raise awareness.   Thomas has over ten years experience playing the French horn with the Nashville and Chattanooga Symphonies, has been in recording sessions with Keith Urban, Garth Brooks and more, has toured with Vince Gill and recently cut an album “You Don’t Know Me” that features a duet with Vince Gill.  And?  She's the daughter of a very good friend of mine, did I mention that? Very cool friend of mine.

Thomas performed a few songs off her new album....
 as well as A Cold Day in Heaven, a poignant song written after losing her brother to suicide.

Suicide survivors and cyclists Thomas Brown and Zak Chipps took the stage after Erin Thomas to open up a community discussion about suicide awareness and healing.   Thomas and Zak are riding across America through 21 states, 110 cities to raise suicide awareness and healing.  The men, both having lost a brother to suicide, are talking to strangers, meeting with community groups and starting conversations.  
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will host an Out of the Darkness community walk at Columbia Riverfront Park on October 14, 2012.  To support this cause by walking, online registration cutoff is noon on October 12th, but you can register in person on the morning of the walk.  To support this cause financially, donations can be made through December 31, 2012.  Follow the links for more information or email  Proceeds benefit AFSP for research and education programs to prevent suicides and provide support for survivors of suicide loss.  The Out of Darkness walks are 3-5 mile walks taking place in over 250 communities across the country this year.

SC Department of Mental Health and the Mental Health America of SC supported this event and had artwork available from the Art of Recovery program.  Also supporting this event was NAMI and Outspoken Bicycles of Columbia.  Julian’s generously offered to host the event if bad weather was a problem.

Due to fundraisers and awareness events such as this, many advances have been made in the treatment of depression and mental disorders.  If you or someone you love is suffering, there is help and there is hope.  Contact any of these organizations for more information.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
SC Dept. of Mental Health:
Mental Health America of SC:
To purchase Erin Thomas' new album "You Don't Know Me," visit her website at

I bought two copies of Erin's CDs.  One for me and one for one of my closest friends who lost a sister to suicide.  I'll review Erin's cd soon and let you know how deliciously awesome it is.


Fern said...

Would have loved to hear her!!! Brought tears to my eyes reading about it, 6 years ago September 5th!!

Poof said...

I was thinking about you a lot during the event. Can't wait to see you.