Brandi Carlile Puts Up a Fight

2014 Invest in Youth Breakfast With Brandi Carlile

Wednesday, March 12

It’s not the most uplifting topic, but it’s a good thing some people are talking openly about suicide in Washington. According to a Washington state Department of Health report updated in April 2013, it’s the eighth leading cause of death among Washington residents, and in 2011 was the second leading cause among youth aged 15 to 24. In Bellevue, a recent Healthy Youth Survey shows that “one in four Eastside teens reported feeling depressed, and more than one in six high-school seniors said they had seriously considered suicide in the previous year.”

For Ravensdale-born singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile, losing a high-school friend to suicide hit close to home, inspiring the song “That Year” from her 2009 album Give Up the Ghost. “You should have taken a long break/Instead of a long drop from a high place,” she sings. “Ten years I never spoke your name/Now it feels good to say it/You’re my friend again.”

Recognizing the incredible uplifting power of song, Bellevue nonprofit Youth Eastside Services (YES) chose the singer as the keynote speaker at its upcoming Invest in Youth Breakfast. “We really appreciate that Brandi uses her talent and compassion to showcase the often taboo subjects of depression and self-harm,” says YES executive director Patti Skelton-McGougan. “Brandi’s willingness to share her experience with us will help bring our community together to work on strategies to stop this alarming trend.”

Carlile joins other bands, like The Fray (“How to Save a Life”), Gnarls Barkley (“Just a Thought”), and Cold War Kids (“Golden Gate Jumper”), who have recently written about the issue.

As a co-founder of the Fight the Fear Campaign, a violence-prevention initiative, Carlile offers an answer to Rascal Flatts’ song “Why?”: “Who told you life wasn’t worth the fight?” For youth facing tough social and emotional pressures, she says the effort “isn’t about fighting other people, it’s about respecting the fact that you yourself are worth fighting for.” Hyatt Regency Bellevue, 900 Bellevue Way N.E., 462-1234, 7:30 a.m. $150 minimum suggested donation. All ages. Note : This story has been revised since publication.

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