PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Grammy winners and Portland’s own Portugal. The Man are helping to bring mental health awareness to the forefront at some of their concerts — including their recent sold-out shows at Edgefield.
Portugal. The Man hit it big with their song “Feel It Still,” and they’re using their popularity to do more than just entertain the masses.
“Mental health is just a subject that’s very close to us personally,” Zach Carothers, the band’s bassist, said.
KOIN 6 News met up with Carothers and keyboard player Kyle O’Quin before their Edgefield concerts on Aug. 24 and 25 to talk about a new campaign featured at their Oregon shows.
Concertgoers will see the “Keep Oregon Well” vans and volunteers at their performances — talking about mental health.
“There’s always kind of been a shame about it where you’re sad or not good on the inside,” Carothers said. “And that’s just recently coming out that that’s absolutely ridiculous. People need to take care of themselves.”
“Keep Oregon Well” was co-founded by fellow Portland-based musician Logan Lynn. It’s designed to reduce stigma surrounding mental and behavioral health.
“I think the more people who stand up and say, ‘This is my truth. I’m just like you, you’re not alone,’ that chips away at stigma each time,” Lynn said.
Lynn has been working with well-known musicians for years to give people access to mental health help through concerts.
He said, “I thought about, what would I have needed when I was 7 or 12 and struggling. It wasn’t listening to the adults in my life. It wasn’t listening to folks that could have guided me into services, but I was listening to Debbie Gibson and Paula Abdul, Milli Vanilli.”
This is the first time “Keep Oregon Well” has toured with a band. Portugal. The Man has two more Oregon shows this week — one in Jacksonville on Thursday and the final one Friday in Bend.
Portugal. The Man said Lynn’s mission is a perfect fit for them.
“Have you ever met this guy? Logan is great,” Carothers said.
O’Quin added, “He’s great because he’s open about talking about things and that’s what we’re trying to do.”