Student creates Concerts for Cures to raise money for mental health
After battling depression, business management sophomore Murphy Nye learned why puberty and his suicidal thoughts were aligned: he lacked the ability to break down folate. This chemical imbalance directly resulted in waves of severe depression.
Nye’s imbalance was discovered by a genetic testing program called GeneSight. The test generates what medication is most effective based on one’s genetic makeup.
“This is the test that saved my life,” Nye said. “It’s the one that told me I couldn’t break down folic acid.”
Nye turned to music during his depression and made it his mission to use music to help other people battling similar mental health issues. In December, Nye founded Concerts for Cures. The Registered Student Organization put on its first concert Feb. 11 at the Business College Complex.
The first concert was focused on depression, Nye said. Tickets sold for $12 and the proceeds will be donated toward helping MSU students gain access to GeneSight testing.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health website, 21.7 percent of adults age 18-25 showed signs of prevalent mental illness in 2015.
Marketing and communications manager for Student Health Services Kathi Braunlich said the Olin Health Center sees a lot of students on campus who are seeking help for mental health concerns. Olin offered GeneSight testing to students prior to Nye’s proposal.
“Usually, the testing is utilized when someone is either not responding to a few trials of medication or if they have a lot of difficulty tolerating medication,” Braunlich said. “That is a next step to help understand what might be able to help in that type of a situation.”
She explained that with a wide array of available options, jumping to medication is not the first solution.
The next Concerts for Cures show will be based out of Ann Arbor. The organization is partnering with University of Michigan as a display of unity.
“Even though we’re rivals, Michigan vs. Michigan State is one of the toughest rivalries in the country for collegiate sports, I think you can see that people are willing to get over what color they wear,” Nye said. “They can come together and just help people in general.”
Alex Hoffman was an MSU student before transferring to the U-M to study engineering. When he first heard about the concert, he didn’t realize that Nye was taking guitar to that level.
“I just really felt for that, I really understood where he was coming from with his mental illness,” Hoffman said. “I kind of went through the same thing myself, and getting over it with music was a huge thing for me.”
Hoffman struggled with anxiety and compulsive disorders from a possible chemical imbalance during the fifth grade and while he is in recovery, he said his strife stays with him.
He now works side by side with Nye to execute Concerts for Cures.
“I want to make sure that my story and his story is known and that maybe someone in the audience hears that and they’re able to be like, ‘You know what, I do have some sort of issue and I shouldn’t be afraid to go get the help that I need,’” Hoffman said.
He and Nye received support from U-M’s Central Student Government to fund the next concert in Ann Arbor.
“Most people who have mental illnesses don’t want to admit it or don’t think they have a problem,” Hoffman said. “The main thing with Concerts for Cures, that I think is the most important aspect, is to be open about your mental illness.”
As far as Nye’s vision for the future of the organization, he wants to dedicate his life toward the foundation he created. He said he is hoping to turn the RSO into a non-profit organization.
“I’m very fortunate to be alive,” Nye said. “Many times, I’ve caught myself doing things that I shouldn’t be doing. … I think it’s more of a blessing in disguise, for me, that I’ve (been) depressed. I would’ve never thought to do this if I didn’t have my problem."