Twin birthday celebration for mental health

Janet Hutchings made the decision to start a conversation about suicide prevention in honour of her friend Daniel Hamlyn.

Amy Cleary

Janet Hutchings lost her long-time friend Daniel Hamlyn to suicide during the holiday season.

Daniel Hamlyn
Daniel Hamlyn killed himself over the holiday season and the money raised from the event on January 19 will be donated in his honour to Mental Health NL.  Submitted Photo

Though saddened by the loss, Hutchings decided to use her grief as motivation to do something positive.

Hutchings says she decided to create awareness about suicide prevention because that’s what Hamlyn would have wanted.

She and another friend, Curtis Connors, share the same birthday on Jan. 19. Every year they throw a birthday show at a local bar. This year’s show will have a twist in response to Hamlyn’s death.

“Well, I could feel bad about this and continue to feel depressed or I could do something about it,” Hutchings said. “I had a birthday show coming up at Treble. Why not make it a fundraiser for a cause?”

Connors has also been affected by suicide.

“Suicide affects everybody,” Connors said. “Me and Janet did a birthday show last year, and she just lost her friend. She came up with the idea that we should do it as a fundraiser for suicide prevention this year. I thought it was a great idea,” said Connors.

Brad Tulk
Brad Tulk is the owner and operator for Treble. He’s  donating money from the bar sales at an upcoming event to Mental Health Newfoundland. Amy Cleary/ Kicker

The yearly double party is held downtown at a local music venue. This year’s party was going to be held at Treble. Hutching’s approached bar owner Brad Tulk with the birthday party idea.

“I’ve known Janet and she came in and wanted to book the show,” Tulk said. “So, I jumped on board – super excited about it.”

The birthday party will be held on January 19. The doors will open at nine, and tickets for the event will be sold at the door for seven dollars. Money from the door sales are going to be donated to Mental Health Newfoundland in Daniel Hamlyn’s name.

Neither Connors nor Hutchings plan on turning anyone away from the event.

“It’s not about the money; we aren’t going to turn someone away who can only give five dollars,” said Connors. “It’s about awareness and the more people who come, the more a conversation can be started.”

The lineup for the event will include local acts like Dendron, Porn, David Malone and Peter Fewer.

“I’m pretty stoked.” Hutchins said. “I haven’t seen Dendron or Porn before, and I really love Peter and David’s music. All in all, I think its going to be a great show.”

Tulk plans to donate bar sales from Treble to Mental Health Newfoundland.

“It’s benefiting a good cause,” said Tulk.

Tulk will continue raising awareness by having an event called Blue Monday, which will be held on January 21 – reputedly the most depressing day of the year. The event will feature a movie on a projector screen with popcorn.

“I thought it would be a good idea and do it in conjunction with the birthday party. Kind of double down on what’s raised and do some good and get the word out. Give people somewhere to go on a typically lonely day,” said Tulk.

After finding out about Blue Monday, Connors and Hutchings were ecstatic.

“It’s good that it’s going to another event to get people talking,” said Connors.

Connors believes in the importance of keeping the conversation going.

“One of biggest causes of an early age death is suicide, and it’s something that people still don’t like talking about. I want to do it every year with Janet to get people talking,” said Connors.

If you or anyone needs help, contact the Mental Health Crisis Line at 737-4668 or toll-free at 1-888-737-4668.

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