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Korn guitarist to discuss mental health at Skyline
Tribune - 9/19/2022
Sep. 19—Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch will partner with Alice Cooper's Solid Rock Teen Centers to inspire East Valley young people with a free night of music and a conversation about suicide prevention on Sept. 20 at Skyline High School in Mesa.
"It's just all about helping people see that there's hope," Welch said. "The darkness that you have going on in your mind as a teenager, it doesn't last."
The connection between music and mental health goes much deeper than that in Welch's own life.
"I just feel like music is so powerful and it influences so many different people," Welch said. "It's a strong, strong gift that we have for the world."
Since 1993, Welch said fans have shared with him how much Korn's music has personally impacted their own lives.
During the pandemic, Welch said he participated in a virtual meet-and-greet via Zoom and people thanked him and shared how much the band's music saved their life.
"It's just mind blowing to hear that and it just humbles you," Welch said.
Over the last five years, Welch said the suicides of various celebrities have pushed mental health issues to the forefront.
"How many people have to die before you start being real?"
Welch said. "It's really cool to see the mainstream backing mental health and just really trying to make a difference."
In May 2017, Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell was found unconscious after a performance in Detroit, Michigan.
Cornell's death was ruled a suicide by hanging. He was 52.
Two months later in July 2017, Linkin Park lead singer and Valley native Chester Bennington was discovered dead at his home in California. Bennington's death was also ruled a suicide by hanging. He was 41.
Along with other celebrities, including TV personality Anthony Bourdain's suicide in 2018, Welch said these occurrences represent a trend that's become far too common in modern society.
"You hear about it a lot more often now, and it's very, very important that we discuss it," Welch said. "The stigma's got to go, we've just got to be real."
Welch said he encourages young people to reach out to their peers and counselors for help and most importantly "do not isolate."
"This is temporary, what you're going through, it does get better," Welch said. "I've went through my own really dark days and dark seasons."
In July 2005, Welch left Korn to discover his faith as a Christian and develop his own one-on-one "out-of-the-box" relationship with God.
"I've developed my own unique relationship with Christ," Welch said.
Around that same time, Welch said he moved to Arizona and had "spiritually amazing revelations" and "grew into a whole new person."
"It was the best experience ever, even the bad things were," Welch said. "I'm really excited to be back to do an event and just hang out for a few days."
After several years, Welch marked his first performance with Korn in May 2012 and has since reunited with the band.
Now, Welch said he leans on a good support system including medical, spiritual and social pillars.
While faith is a major component of his own life, he said, "You can't make people believe how you believe or, more importantly, you can't make people have your moral values.
"All you can do is just shine your light and be loving."
For young adults struggling to start or find their path, Welch said to start with asking "God, if you're real, show me."
Welch said that will start them down the path of meeting the right people in their personal journey.
Welch also said people should surround themselves with positive people.
"Nobody should be in your life that's dragging you down," Welch said. "It's just time wasting, and it's going to suck the positivity out of you."
While he doesn't know what the future holds for the future of events like this, Welch said he loves the work Alice Cooper, his wife Sheryl Goddard, and the entire team at the Solid Rock Teen Centers has done.
"They've done so much for the youth and where they're at in Phoenix," Welch said. "I'm just honored to be a part of it."
Randy Spencer is the head of development and partnerships for the Alice Cooper's Solid Rock Teen Centers.
Spencer said this event will kick off a campaign called "Scream 4 Me," part of a mental health awareness campaign.
"If a kid is struggling with depression or potential suicidal thoughts, we hope that they'll say 'scream' or 'scream for me' to a friend or a counselor," Spencer said.
Along with distributing t-shirts and stickers to various local high schools, the campaign looks to spread awareness for teens experiencing anxiety, depression, addiction or thoughts of suicide, and to know that help is out there for them.
With help from Death2Life.com, teens will be able to find help from a licensed counselor.
Worldwide nonprofit D2L helps youth and adults reach out to people "who are living in darkness," in the hopes of people in crisis to find help with a licensed counselor.
Along with Welch, D2L has worked with other personalities including musician Lacey Sturm and skateboarder Brian Sumner.
"We hope that Scream 4 Me campaign will be literally a lifesaving campaign for many youth in Mesa," Spencer said.
For more information, visit alicecoopersolidrock.com/event/brianwelch/.
If You Go...
Who: Brian "Head" Welch — Scream4Me presented by Alice Cooper's Solid Rock Teen Centers
Where: Skyline High School, 845 S. Crismon Road, Mesa
When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tues., Sept. 20. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.
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