Suicide. The word evokes amongst the most gut-wrenching emotions and casts a devastating trail of unanswered questions. Questions that torment those who believe there is no other recourse and haunt those who are left behind.
Our story is incredibly personal—but not private. Les Barricades Mystérieuses was always playing in Elizabeth Turnbull’s home because it was her husband’s favourite piece of music. When he died by suicide in 2015, the idea for the concert flashed through Elizabeth’s mind, as a way to find healing through the music of her fellow musicians, and to celebrate the life of a man she loved and admired. Fittingly, Mysterious Barricades is an apt description of mental illness—it is strangely unknown and it is fraught with unending obstacles. The beauty of the piece of music is in both its nuanced delicacy and its unapologetic force.
Suicide is death by mental illness. And mental illness—which affects all of us—is intensely misunderstood, deeply personal and often masked. Increased public focus on mental illness has brought it into the spotlight. We have been stunned by seemingly successful popular figures dying by suicide. We have participated in nationwide hashtag campaigns. We have seen programs increase awareness surrounding this problem faced by all of humanity.
Hope and healing are essential to these mental illness conversations. Mysterious Barricades is our response: to be a catalyst for suicide prevention by fostering hope and healing through music. We bring together people in concerts that celebrate life and hope, with artists who believe that music is a visceral, deeply healing and connective force that unites and transforms.
Information Poster available here
Reprise of 2016 Concert
Scott McKeen, City Councillor, at the 2018 Edmonton Concert
I want people at risk of suicide to know how much their lives matter to us, and that we as a country and a community wish for the stigma of mental illness to become a thing of the past. To become more open and accepting of mental illness, a substantial conversation must take place. I want to herald in that conversation with music—loud, glorious, positive and far-reaching, deeply reverberating and connective.
Co-founder & President,