We never imagined those hours spent watching Saturday-morning and after-school cartoons would give us information we could use in the real world 20 years later. We mean besides the there's-no-such-things-as-ghosts lesson. (Thanks, Scooby Doo!) But one simple slogan blaring from the TV speakers actually is worth the reels on which it was recorded. Everyday G.I. Joe would shout a--now important--lesson: Knowing is half the battle.
When it comes to suicide, knowing is half the battle. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, most people planning suicides give warnings that, if identified and treated seriously, could prevent deaths. For now, the rates of suicide are one death every 18 minutes and one attempt every minute. The result is that suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24.
Working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's belief that the most effective form of prevention is educating people on what the warning signs are and how to respond to someone in crisis, Charlotte, North Carolina's Deep Elm Records (that would be the "emo" label for those who like niches and stereotypes) founded the Too Young To Die Tour, a month-long concert tour with five of the label's bands, including Dallas' Red Animal War. The five-band roster (which also includes Brandston, Desert City Soundtrack, David Singer and Settlefish from Italy) rotates each night, so there is no set opening band or headliner, just a lineup of 30-minute sets. Each show, which is all-ages since many of the at-risk kids are below drinking age, also features a local act. Doosu is the addition to the Dallas show, which takes place Friday at the Deep Ellum club The Door. Also, Deep Elm's two other Dallas bands, Slowride and Lewis, will perform 15-minute acoustic sets to kick off the concert.
But the shows are just part of Deep Elm's effort. The label also has released a 19-track CD (available from the bands, at tour stops and at Hot Topic store locations for about $6) with songs by Deep Elm bands chosen for lyrics that involve "hope, perseverance and survival." All the touring bands are featured, plus Slowride, Lewis, Pop Unknown (featuring members of Austin's Kissing Chaos), The Appleseed Cast, Planes Mistaken for Stars, Benton Falls, Surrounded, Cross My Heart, Camber and The White Octave. Just as important, each CD comes with the Suicide Prevention Guide, a booklet about suicide and depression that explains the warning signs and offers assistance. Sales from the CD, concerts and related merchandise benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Besides playing their sets, the bands might also be speaking about suicide between songs. After all, it's something they care enough about to climb in vans and play a show every night for a month from Dallas to New York City back to Oklahoma City, including a stop in Austin during South by Southwest. They know; now they want others to be ready for battle.