Alex Boyé to headline 2nd concert addressing suicide prevention, mental health

Alex Boyé performs at an event in Logan in 2021 to promote suicide prevention and awareness.

Alex Boyé performs at an event in Logan in 2021 to promote suicide prevention and awareness. (Emma Fuez)

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LOGAN — Why should you bring a friend to the Alex Boyé concert Monday night? It's free, and it might just save a friend's life.

It is the second year that Cache County aims to "Ignite the Light" with Utah entertainer Alex Boyé as the headliner. Cache County Executive David Zook said thousands turned out for last year's event, and the meaningful follow-up made it most worthwhile. He said people appreciated the chance to talk about their emotional loads, including many first responders who consistently serve the community.

This year, the Cache County Fairgrounds, 450 S. 500 West, in Logan, will open at 5 p.m., giving attendees more time to visit booths that aim to provide mental health resources and other helps. Zook said people don't realize how many locations offer counseling and intervention services.

"We know that when people are struggling with mental health or suicide ideation, they are much more likely to have a good outcome if they can get in touch with resources," he said.

Margaret Gittens, who organized the event, said people might call the bigger organizations like Bear River Mental Health and get told they're booked out, but there are smaller, private practices available and dozens of them will be manning booths to introduce people to their services. Gittens said she was surprised by how many private practices are available in the valley.

First responders with police, fire and other emergency medical services, are invited to attend a private group at the event center at the same time the booths are running outside. Last year, the first responders' gathering was held the night prior.

Alex Boyé, who is open about his own mental health struggles, sang the group a song and talked with them, putting his hand on shoulders and, according to Gittens, asking them, individually, "Are you OK? Because you have a family that you need to get home to." Several first responders opened up, sought help, and later told Zook how much they appreciated the setting that helped open the discussion.

"These guys are warriors," Boyé told He said these strong men and women might not want to show their emotions publicly, because they might have been seen as weak. Now, however, being open is seen as strength.

Boyé is scheduled to take the stage at 7 p.m. There will not be opening acts this year, reserving two hours for booth interactions and letting Boyé take the stage earlier than the 10 p.m. start time last year. Boyé intends to do more of the same, singing with his band and interacting with the crowd, delivering a message of hope. He said he performs positive music to make people feel good, and doesn't mind what time he goes on — as long as he's on stage, he's feeling great.

I think a lot of times people suffering from mental illness don't recognize they need help, and it's up to those around them to steer them in that direction.

–Bart Esplin

Bart Esplin lost his son Tyler to suicide in 2018. He said it's important that people know they are not alone.

Tyler Esplin was 27 years old and had battled depression for years. His father said the hard thing when someone is going through pre-suicide, is knowing where to turn. In the four years since his son died, there has been more awareness, Bart Esplin said, and it is gaining even more momentum.

"I think a lot of times people suffering from mental illness don't recognize they need help, and it's up to those around them to steer them in that direction," Bart Esplin said.

Zook said suicide is the leading cause of death for teenagers in Utah, and suicide by middle-aged men is becoming more prevalent. Bart Esplin said that asking a friend or family member about their possible suicidal thoughts will not put ideas in their heads; if they emerge, they were already there.

Things were tough for Boyé when he was younger. He said he used to hide his mental health challenges, but his therapist told him he needed to talk about them — that healing comes from release. The British-American performer shares his own struggles, and said he wants to show that we're all in the same boat. We're all screaming on the inside, and opening up gives other people permission to open up.

"All my songs are a celebration of life; I want to talk about good stuff," said Boyé. He said there were young people who didn't want to come to the event last year, but then, after experiencing it, didn't want to leave.

The event is made possible by community donations.

Gittens called the event a "Celebration of Life" and wants people to know there are more people like you — however a person might have been touched by suicide. She encourages anyone to reach out and ask need help.

And, maybe a free concert by Alex Boyé can help start that conversation.

Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call 988 to connect with the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline./p>

Crisis Hotlines

  • Huntsman Mental Health Institute Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
  • SafeUT Crisis Line: 833-372-3388
  • 988 Suicide and Crisis LifeLine at 988
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386

Online resources


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Brian Champagne has reported on cars since 1996. When he's not out driving something interesting, he teaches journalism at Utah State University.


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