DENVER (KDVR) — Rock band Papa Roach wrapped up their recent tour Friday night in Denver, announcing a special gift for a cause the band said is important to them.
Since the tour began in September, the band has been pledging a portion of its ticket sales to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in support of the Talk Away the Dark campaign.
The band’s frontman, Jacoby Shaddix, told FOX31 that the message of the campaign aligns with the band’s values.
“We always talk about that out of the darkness into the light experience, that evolution, and what the AFSP is doing is exactly that, it’s like they are extending a hand out to people that need help,” Shaddix said.
Shaddix said it’s important to remind people that there is help out there, more than playing a song to feel better, but real professional help that is readily available.
“You dial 988 and there’s somebody there that’s going to walk through it with you and coach you out of this dark space,” he said. “It’s a worthy cause, people’s lives are important. It’s something that needs to be blowhorned out to the public because a lot of people, when they’re struggling and in that space, they just don’t know what to do and that’s a scary place to be.”
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that people process and act on information differently when in a state of crisis, meaning their ability to make sound decisions under stress may be compromised.
That’s why Papa Roach wants people to know that this help is readily available when needed.
“That idea of suicide is so readily available to so many people, that’s not a hopeful existence and we’re not meant to live a hopeless life,” Shaddix said.
Suicide is a leading cause of death for people of all age groups in the U.S., according to the CDC. In 2021, for people ages 10 to 14 and 20 to 34, suicide was the second leading cause of death. 48,000 people died by suicide in 2021, which amounts to one suicide death every 11 minutes, on average.
For every adult that died by suicide in 2021, three people were hospitalized for self-harm, 38 self-reported suicide attempts and 265 people seriously considered suicide.
On Friday, at the final show of the tour at Ball Arena, the band played their song Leave a Light On and thousands of flashlights in the crowd lit up the venue. Then, they presented a $155,000 check directly to the AFSP’s Talk Away the Dark campaign.
“I dreamt of this moment,” Shaddix told the crowd.
Shaddix told FOX31 the donation was a way for the band to give back to their fans who have provided for them, and the effort continues. Every time the band makes a royalty as listeners play and share their song “Leave a Light On” they will continuously donate a portion of those earnings to the AFSP.
Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix shares his own experiences
Shaddix told FOX31 about how the band has been able to influence fans through music. Some fans have reached out to let the band know that they inspired them to get help, even setting up therapy appointments during the show.
“I don’t take that lightly, knowing that our music is affecting people or inspiring people to, even just willing to take that first step and get some help for themselves, it’s a great thing,” he said.
He didn’t always have the intention of saving lives with his music, he said he was just a kid who wanted to write music. Being honest and vulnerable in his lyrics was his way of wrestling with his own problems.
“That’s what’s been the, I guess, like the hand that reaching out is that vulnerability, the honesty in the lyric about coming from these spaces of struggle and finding answers,” he said. “To know that our music has touched people and I don’t even know them, and that it’s affected them in a positive way like that, that to me is like, if I were to die tomorrow, this is a life well lived.”
His positivity-based mindset only came after Shaddix went through his own trials. He battled with drug and alcohol abuse until 2012 when he said he hit rock bottom, his family was in “shambles” and he finally decided to put down the bottle. He hasn’t had a sip since and described his sobriety as freedom.
But he said during that time, the only way he found peace in his days was when he was writing music and “exercising this darkness inside of me.”
“That’s when I honestly really understood when people say ‘your music saved my life’ or ‘music saves my life’ — that’s when I understood that for my own self,” he said.
Since then, Shaddix said he has been exercising gratitude and forgiveness regularly and has been especially mindful about what he allows into his mind as part of a long process of creating a sense of hope for himself.
“All the negative self-talk, that’s not the reality, it’s just the noise and I’ve had to really be mindful of what I allow into my mind and my spirit and my thoughts because it sits there and manifests this negative generation against myself,” he said.
He said it’s important for those struggling to reach out for help because those negative thought loops can be crushing and can paralyze people in fear and hopelessness.
Help is available
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or battling thoughts of suicide, there is help.
Colorado Crisis Services provides free, confidential and immediate support from trained professionals at any time of any day. Call 844-493-TALK (8255) or text “TALK” to 38255.
Call 988 to reach the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which is free and available any time, any day.
More information about the warning signs for suicide prevention and how to have conversations that could save a life can be found on the Talk Away the Dark campaign page.