We’re glad you’re here.
If you’ve ever been to a TWLOHA event, then you have seen or heard that phrase. In fact, I think if you had to boil down our heart and message into a collection of words, then it would be those.
Regardless of your past day, week, or year—we’re glad you’re here.
You could’ve been anywhere with anyone, and you showed up—we’re glad you’re here.
Tonight you’re with us sharing this space—we’re glad you’re here.
Every time we’ve said or printed those words the meaning has changed slightly yet profoundly, because the “we” is always growing, it’s always inviting people in. That growth was felt in a highly visible way last weekend as we celebrated the 3rd Annual Live. Life. Love. Benefit Concert in Nashville. This year, our friends at 107.5 The River pulled out all the stops to challenge the stigma and shame that surrounds mental health, enlisting the talents of artists like Chelsea Cutler, lovelytheband, Louis Tomlinson, Jon Bellion, and Lizzo.
That night 7,500 fans came out, which is one of the largest captive audiences TWLOHA has had in our 13-year history. Ticket sales brought in over $30,000 in proceeds that will allow the organization to continue providing hope and connecting people to the help they need and deserve. Thousands of pamphlets were distributed to attendees, inviting them to be honest with their struggles and introducing them to valuable resources, including our FIND HELP Tool. What’s even more inspiring is that these numbers don’t even begin to tell the full story.
While on stage, TWLOHA founder Jamie Tworkowski put the event into perspective:
“As much as we’re here tonight to be entertained, how amazing would it be if there was someone in this room who wasn’t sure if they could keep going, if that person could decide tonight that life is worth living, that there are things worth staying for, that there will be other nights like tonight that I want to be a part of.”
We know of people, down to specific names and unique faces, that were in the audience on behalf of friends and loved ones. We know that others were there to honor their own journeys, even in hopeful defiance of recent difficult chapters. So for our team, it was especially encouraging to know that the artists on stage resonated with the vision, purpose, and urgency of the night. Our friends from lovelytheband made their point loud and clear when they announced, “asking for help is not weak, it is the most courageous thing you can possibly do.”
A little bit later in the night, Lizzo punctuated her set by encouraging the arena:
“I don’t know if you need to hear this message but we need you… I am so glad you’re still here. I know what it feels like to be unhappy, I know what it feels like to be depressed, and I also know what it feels like to survive it… If you know anyone who is dealing with emotional or mental illness—please play them my music—and be there, be a support system.”
Before closing the show, Lizzo welcomed the crowd to repeat after her saying, “I deserve self-love. I am worthy of self-love.” And the beauty of hearing 7,500 voices saying that in unison is only eclipsed by the realization that no one said it alone.
It is our hope that the effects of the night will be felt for quite some time. It may appear smaller and quieter than a packed arena, but it will be no less significant. Perhaps it will look like a well-timed hug or a “just checking in” text. Maybe it will look like someone walking into a recovery community or a friend driving another to their first counseling session. It could even look like an honest talk about what comes next or a hand-written note expressing gratitude for the air in your lungs.
To borrow from Jamie’s words once more, “Whatever stage you have, whatever voice you have, whatever influence you have, it is about us doing our part to let people know it’s OK to be honest, to let people know it’s OK to ask for help.”