You’re going to want to read what Hope For The Day founder Jonny Boucher has to say…
Of course Jonny Boucher aka founder, CEO and most importantly the face of the mental health organisation HOPE FOR THE DAY will be appearing at all dates of the Never Say Die! Tour this year.
If you’re unfamiliar with this man, you might wanna grab a cuppa and get reading…
We met back in 2016 for an interview and basically we’d like to get an update on what has happened with HFTD and also with you since then?
Since our last update, things have grown so much for Hope for the Day locally, nationally and internationally! 2017 was a big year for us with our outreach efforts increased everywhere we went. Warped Tour was a success and we had great partners like Neck Deep, Beartooth and many others who worked with us to break the silence around mental health on the tour. We had added the Neck Deep UK/EU tour to our list of international outreach opportunities and were excited to announce the fundraising campaign for our social enterprise coffee bar, Sip of Hope! – The World’s first coffee shop where 100% of the proceeds support proactive suicide prevention and mental health education! As we announced the project, we were excited for Neck Deep to flow right into Never Say Die 2017 with the homies Chelsea Grin, covering so much territory in the UK/EU at once. Sadly as we were wrapping up the Neck Deep tour, I had a health scare and had to cancel me speaking on NSD to get back to the states for a doctors visit. Thankfully everything cleared up and I needed it to jump start a healthier way of living since I travel so much, often my health is the first neglected thing.
In May 2018, we opened Sip of Hope as promised to our donors and the city of Chicago! Sip of Hope has been visited by thousands of people from all over the globe – even The Netherlands and Switzerland! We have also been featured on the Today Show as well as the Obama Foundation. Quickly after we opened, our team embarked on the last Vans Warped Tour this past summer and kicked some serious ass. In 5 years, we distributed over 250,000 resources, I gave over 1200 speeches from stage and we spoke to soooooooo many people about good days and bad days, it was unreal.
As we have looked forward to the fall, Never Say Die gets me excited as we get to do outreach and education to so many with such great bands too. BAAO are one of my favorite bands and groups of people that walk this world. We have such a strong bond and connection that it only pushes our work together.
As for HFTD moving forward, we have a lot of great things in the works both nationally and internationally. We are working on creating more efficient and effective ways of doing our work with people in the community who want to be proactive with us. The future is bright and we are looking to strengthen our work across the globe and keep a humble yet aggressive view on how we can change the conversation around mental health TOGETHER.
When we talked you had only recently been registered as an “official charity organization” in Europe. What has changed for you since then? Are you happy with the development? (donations, volunteers etc.)
Yes, when we spoke HFTD was becoming an official EU charity and we are now working on becoming one in the UK! We are looking at sustainable models now and creating hubs for resource distribution as well as action opportunities for people across the UK/EU. We know that bands will always be touring and we will continue working with our friends at Avocado Booking and Impericon but there is so much more to be done so this fall I am looking to create some of those hubs so in 2019 we can kick some serious ass for mental health, TOGETHER.
How have you personally changed in the last year, especially when it comes to working with/for HFTD? You told us in the last interview that you need things like meditation, yoga, walking with your dogs to not let all the stories you hear affect you too much.
I am 33 years old now, so I am needing to focus on my health and my overall well-being or this organization won’t be able to strive towards the goals we want to achieve. Yoga, reading, working out and healthy eating are musts for me as I continue to grow the organization. It is so important to have balance in life and it won’t come from anyone other than you. My health scare in 2017 was an eye opener to me that I need to make sure I care for my overall health as much as I care about Hope for the Day. Another great thing is that society is starting to talk about mental health more and more which allows people to be able to open up a lot more, our interactions with people have become easier because of this too. We are starting to get to the point where people can talk more which means more conversations will lead to people getting the help that they deserve.
Unfortunately we’ve lost many more people, also musicians to suicide since we last spoke – The biggest loss regarding their impact on the music scene worldwide certainly were Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell. Do you think (and maybe also see it in your daily work), that this had an influence on the way suicide is portrayed in the music scene nowadays?
Yes, both of those iconic and influential people changed the way we look at mental health and suicide from the industry perspective. Just like Robin Williams, both Chris and Chester “had it all” and it has been an eye opener but also an opportunity. When HFTD is p[art of a tour, we are a tool for those behind the scenes just as much as we are for the fans we interact with every night. With every tragedy, there is an opportunity to take the pain and do something about it. Their suicides is a call for action inside the industry because we need to make sure we are influencing fans the right way which starts with being able to handle the mental health issues behind the scenes.
The melodic hardcore genre (very prominent in this year’s lineup) is known for dealing a lot with mental health issues and also suicide, both in songs and on stage. Do you see a difference compared to other music genres when it comes to talking about the topic? (e.g.: Are fans from certain bands more open to talk about it than others?)
I believe in the power of music and I believe musicians use their talents for more than making noise. You see common threads of mental health and suicide in melodic hardcore but I believe every genre talks about the good days and bad days of life. Most talk about getting through it but some songs are meant for those moments where we are alone in our rooms or our cars, singing along because we need it most. Our work with Live Nation has allow HFTD to be present like we are on Never Say Die, in front of all different genres and at the end of the day – we need to realize we are talking about humans, not depression/addiction/suicide/etc – humans. And music has always allow us to get away from things so it is our job to work with all types of genres because mental health does not discriminate. It impacts all walks of life and doesn’t give a shit who you are nor what genre of music you listen to.
So you’ll be able to seeing the tour EVERY night I guess – what band from the lineup are you especially looking forward to?
I am a fan of the whole tour, always have been because despite the genres – Never Say Die Tour stands for something bigger than every crowd each night. It is a traveling safe space that has great music that compliments a great message and we are proud to be part of the tour for the 5th year. But I will say, I am a sucker for a BAAO show anytime. See you in the pit.