Over the past two decades in the U.S., suicide rates have risen by 33 percent. Sounds of Saving aims to fuel the hope needed to reverse that trend, ultimately improving mental health and reducing suicide rates.
We fuel hope both by celebrating the power of human connection to music, and by directing people towards the resources they need before it’s too late - because suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Research shows that an overwhelming number of people who survive a suicide attempt are glad they lived, and do not die by another attempt. And over 90 percent of suicide victims have a diagnosable mental disorder. We believe that a connection to music, or to whatever treatment is best for a particular individual, can intervene and save lives.
Music is a powerful tool for strengthening mental health. It’s the universal human language of emotion, connecting us across genres and continents. And our personal stories about how music creates hope are especially powerful. Sounds of Saving works with musicians willing to share how music has helped them through difficult times, and who will use their platform to promote opening up and seeking help during mental health challenges. These relatable stories about overcoming hopelessness or distress, especially from those we admire, have been proven to decrease suicide attempts and can normalize conversations about mental health.
Mass media can save lives by presenting non-suicide alternatives to crises. This phenomenon is known as the Papageno Effect, named after a lovelorn character from the opera The Magic Flute who contemplates suicide until others offer him hope. For instance after Logic’s 2017 VMA performance of his song “1-800-273-8255,” titled after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Lifeline recieved the second-highest call volume in its history. Music, which resonates with everyone in individual ways, is a powerful tool for the Papageno Effect - and one that can use contagious hope to improve the lives of at-risk people and populations.
Sounds of Saving believes that authentic human connection lies at the core of confronting mental illness. While social media can be a valuable tool for connection and we use it to share our content, we also recognize that it can have harmful effects on mental health in a variety of ways. We ask you to check in with yourself while you’re scrolling, and take a break if it doesn’t feel right.
In late 2016, I attended an event for a suicide-focused nonprofit that a friend of a friend has founded after losing his brother. I didn't expect to be majorly affected. But after recalling my Uncle Mike taking his own life, and the numerous friends that I lost to drug overdoses over the years, I knew I had to do something.
For me, music had always been the thing. The thing that picked me up when I was low. The thing that made me feel less alone. THE THING. But how could I use music to raise awareness and prevent suicides?
It immediately hit me that everyone I know who loves or plays music says the same thing: “Without music, I don’t know where I would be”. And on the spot, Sounds of Saving was created.
— Nick Greto, Founder