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Concert raises awareness on mental health

Awareness on suicide and mental health issues in Samoa and American Samoa was on the agenda of a virtual concert that was hosted last Saturday by a U.S. radio station.

The Big Uce Radio, which is an online radio station that was founded in 2018 by Vince Vaielua and Manny Koke of Lakewood Washington, hosted the virtual concert that attracted Samoan music artists such as Punialavaa, Alo Key, Tree and Tenelle.

The concert was live streamed on social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitch and was viewed by 40,000 people.

Mr. Vaielua told the Samoa Observer in a telephone interview that the Big Uce Radio exists to empower Samoans to continue to strive for excellence in every aspect of life.

He said the concert served as a way to uplift Samoans while spreading the message of peace, hope and love.

“I think that it was a wonderful event. I think that we were able to promote a positive message to those that were able to view and listen in,” he said.

Describing the virtual concert as a great platform to use to connect Samoan artists, Mr. Vaielua said community leaders in the U.S. and American Samoa have reached out to the concert organisers and thanked them for raising awareness. 

As part of the awareness, the community was urged to unite and begin to identify resources that can help prevent and address suicide as well as provide support for those, who are most impacted by traumatic experiences.

Non-profit organisation Brown Girl Woke [B.G.W.] founder and director, Maluseu Doris Tulifau, told the Samoa Observer the virtual concert was a success as they were able to get the message out.

The messages focused on what to look out for in terms of suicidal thoughts and the need for resources and donations to be sent to American Samoa to assist with outreach.

Maluseu added that music can bring families together and is the universal language of love and unity wherever hence uniting artists from Samoa and the Pacific.

She added that she collaborated with Big Uce Radio to get artists together to raise awareness. 

The station was also able to send two containers of school supplies to American Samoa to churches and non-governmental organisations to help with awareness, Maluseu indicated.

"The point was to get conversations started in the home and to pay attention to your children and to make sure that you have a speed dial that can be there if you are going through suicidal thoughts," she said.

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