Kingsgrove resident, Pan Skoumbourdis, has started a musical themed initiative to raise funds for local mental health charities.
It takes the form of a charity event dinner called Black, White & Blues.
The event will be held at Ottimo House, Five Dock Sydney and will attempt to raise awareness and funds for the Black Dog Institute, beyond blue and Lifeline.
It showcases Australian rhythm and blues talent, the Kate Lush Band and her guests and will be hosted by comedian and actor, Greg Fleet.
Wayne Wigham, retired NRL player and speaker from the Black Dog Institute, will share his personal story and the importance of early detection and treatment.
One in five Australians are affected by mental illness every year.
Depression has personal significance for Skoumbourdis, “As a teenager I experienced depression and self-harm and didn’t know how to deal with my own battles.”
“I found singing, song-writing and playing guitar was an outlet I used to deal with my issues. As an adult I eventually got the support I needed and thankfully don’t suffer anymore.”
“Last year a friend told me about a young family member who’d taken their own life.”
“It was then I decided to make a difference, joined with some friends and family and created Black White & Blues,” he said.
There are seven deaths by suicide every day In Australia.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15 to 44.
“It was difficult for me to believe at first but this is the reality. I believe we all have a part to play in reducing suicide and the stigma about mental illness,” he said.
Black, White & Blues aims to raise $100,000 through ticket sales, business and community.