Mental illness can have a heavy connotation to it, but after multiple campaigns the stigma is starting to be broken. On Saturday at 9 p.m., the American Music Therapy Association for Students will host Strike Down the Stigma at Casa Nueva featuring performances by Wolfmen, Ben Leeson, Slim Magnificent and Caitlin Kraus.
The show will cost $3 for 21 years and over and $5 for underage attendees. The show will be donating all proceeds to The Gathering Place, an Athens-based community support program for adults dealing with mental illnesses.
Caitlin Kraus, a first year master's student studying counseling education and music therapy, is excited to be playing in the show as she has a history with The Gathering Place.
While volunteering at The Gathering Place, Kraus knew she found her niche.
“I realized that this was my calling,” she said. “I wanted to be part of something (that broke down this stigma) and built up strengths we have.”
Kraus described music therapy as a strength-based field that works with populations of people who have some sort of need and focuses on their strengths to help them meet those needs through things like song writing, discussing music and playing music.
“You don’t have to be a musician to benefit from music therapy,” Kraus said. “It’s a process, a catalyst to fostering more meaningful interactions with other people and the things people do in their daily lives.”
After offering music therapy to community members at The Gathering Place, the non-profit became a place for music therapy students to go for practicum.
“I’m excited to give back to The Gathering Place that is giving so much to the community,” Kraus said. “(The concert) involves students and community members, it brings it all together.”
Seth Alexander, a graduate student studying music, has been involved with this show for four years and is excited to benefit “a really awesome organization.”
Alexander is also the percussionist for Wolfmen, the headlining band. Wolfmen is a four-piece rock band that has a experimental and electric sound.
“We have a brand new sound that we like,” Alexander said.
Slim Magnificent is “messy and experimental,” Alexander said. Ben Leeson is a singer/songwriter who performs original material.
Kraus plays a solo act that “falls into the category of folk,” she said.
“(Strike Down the Stigma) is a big event I like being a part of because it benefits a really good cause,” Alexander said. “It’s one of those shows I like counting on.”
Kraus appreciates the local factor of the concert and that the people involved also play a role in the school and community.
“I’m most excited for it all to come together,” Alexander said. “When you see a lot of community members and students gather together for a live event for a good cause it's really rewarding.”