'We've had kids give us suicide notes.'



By Eoin Devereux

The Neepawa Banner

High school students in Neepawa recently received a very inspirational message through the power of music. Musician Robb Nash performed a concert at Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute as part of the Manitoba Student Leadership Conference.

Nash has toured school, reservations and correctional centres for several years as a means to reach troubled youth and help turn their lives around.

In his youth, Nash was the victim of a serious auto accident and pronounced dead at the scene by first responders. By the time the ambulance arrived, his pulse had returned but he was in a coma for several months. After he awoke, Nash dealt with a difficult recovery filled with significant physical and emotional trauma, but over time was left with a new outlook on life. He vowed to share his new philosophy through story and song.

“When I was 17, a semi truck hit me and everything I thought that I had planned for my life was gone. Life is going to be full of moments like that where you’ll have to adapt and make some changes to your plans,” said Nash. “People always say things happen for a reason. I don’t believe that for a second. I think everything happens with potential. My accident had the potential to leave me angry and bitter the rest of my life or the potential to use it as part of my story to try and help others. That’s why we kind of dedicated ourselves to playing our music and telling our story because I don’t want other people to have to go through the pain I went through before they make every day count.”

Since he began, Nash has shared his message with 965,000 students across Canada. He noted that over the years, 217 teens have given him and his band mates their suicide notes after the show.

“We let them know that we’re not councilors, we’re trying to encourage them to talk to somebody. We’ve had kids give us suicide notes. Give us their razor blades because they self harm. Given us their bottles of pills. Different things, saying ‘Here, I’ve had a breakthrough.’ And now, we’ve been doing this recent tour for four and a half years and now we’re seeing these kids are keeping these promises for years.”

Nash said being involved with an event like the Manitoba Student Leadership Conference in Neepawa is extremely rewarding.

“Something like [the M.L.S.C.] brings teens who want to make a positive change together,” said Nash. “We see people discover their gifts rather than focus on their failings.”

Additional information on Nash can be found at www.robbnash.com