TROY — The sixth annual Dustin Mele Memorial Concert will take place at Brown’s Revolution Hall on Saturday, March 9 at 6 p.m.
According to a press release, the benefit will feature some of the area’s finest bands (including a special, one-time-only reunion of the Bob Etoll Group), a 50/50 raffle and an auction — all to benefit suicide prevention and mental health intervention services. Area favorite bands — including Emerald City, Soul Sky and Super 400 — will also make an appearance.
There is a $20 minimum donation at the door.
The Meles lost their son, Dustin, to suicide in 2013. His father, a veteran of more than 40 years on the local music circuit, rallied the area’s elite musicians to raise awareness of the growing suicide problem.
“Like so many people struggling with a mental health crisis, Dustin was a fully functioning, warm, bright person; a delight to be around,” Mele’s father and stepmother, Joe and Jenn Mele, said. “He had a job, an apartment with his beloved sister Lindsay, and a large group of close family and friends who loved and supported him. In the months leading up to his suicide, when he began showing signs of internal struggle, we scoured every resource available at the time to help.
“The help was almost non-existent and severely lacking, not to the fault of those who were trying,” his parents continued. “The needed programs did not exist, there was very little focus, funding or understanding for those struggling with a mental health crisis.”
Proceeds from this year’s Memorial Concert will support three organizations, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP); National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Rensselaer County mental health and emergency assistance programs through Catholic Charities CONSERNS-U program. All donations will be made in memory of Dustin. Past annual concerts have raised over $50,000 for Capital District not-for-profits, and have drawn more than 2,700 people in all, including Congressman Paul Tonko and many Troy city officials.
“It’s a blessing to be able to raise awareness and help to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, yet it is so difficult to bring the focus of our days back to that horrible time and loss,” Mele’s family said. “It’s more difficult than anyone can imagine, but we look around us and think how can we not do the benefit? How can we not gather hundreds of people and support in Dustin’s name and help the community?”