Country music artist Chris Stapleton’s debut solo album earned him bona fide superstar status complete with Grammys, Country Music Award (CMA) honors and, last Sunday, a slew of trophies from the Academy of Country Music (ACM). And now, with his recently released song, “Fire Away”, the triple threat – singer, songwriter and producer – is lending his celebrity to shine a light on a disorder that disables millions of Americans – mental illness. And HCA’s TriStar Portland Emergency Room was there to help.

The reality is, mental illness is real – and has been a topic of taboo for far too long. The music video for “Fire Away,” filmed in part in TriStar Portland’s trauma room, helps to start the dialogue and bring attention to the mental health crisis in the United States.

The video chronicles a couple’s journey through the emotional roller coaster ride of mental illness – a wife suffering from the condition and a husband loving her through it all – and ends tragically after she is found with self-inflicted injuries and later dies at the hospital.

Tristar Portland’s Emergency Services Director Melony Scott, who was on-hand during filming, said the video was “spot on.”  “Unfortunately, there are people suffering from mental illness who feel hopeless and helpless and decide they have no other choice than to end their life,” she said. “When EMS responds to a call in that situation, this video portrays exactly how we receive those patients, and too often, the final outcome. That happens every day around the country – it’s real life.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2014, suicide was the second leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds and the 10th leading cause of death overall in the nation. Approximately, 42,773 people committed suicide in 2014 alone.

Dr. Paul W. Ragan, medical director of the Dual-Diagnosis Program at TriStar Skyline’s Madison campus – a behavioral health facility – explained more people kill themselves in the northern hemisphere in the month of April than any other month.

“Less than half of the people who have major depression actually get treatment,” Dr. Ragan said. “Some don’t seek help because of stigma – embarrassment, shame, guilt, isolation or fear of being judged.”

There’s a huge portion of people out there with a very treatable mental illness, he says, who aren’t seeking help for a variety of reasons. But, help is available.

“Mental illness can be managed and treated like any other disease, and with positive results,” Dr. Ragan, who oversees treatment for those with combined addiction and other psychiatric disorders, said. “It’s wonderful to see how much better my patients feel from the time they come into the unit, until the moment they leave – and they’re very grateful for being treated with respect and for the care and support.”

TriStar Health, the region’s largest healthcare provider, offers behavioral health services for seniors, adults and adolescents at its Skyline Madison campus and Centennial Parthenon Pavilion facility in Nashville. And, Tristar Health ERs are prepared to support behavioral health patients, should they arrive for care.

“We hope people seek help before it turns into an emergency,” says Scott, who also heads up emergency services at TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center. “But at the ER, we can keep you safe, keep you from harming yourself and get you through your crisis.”

Mental illness is real – and often tragic if not treated. But with the right support and competent care, there can be light at the end of the tunnel.

TriStar Portland ER is proud to have played a small part in helping Chris Stapleton raise awareness to this important health issue in our community and across the country. We hope this video gets you involved in the mental illness conversation and leads individuals to resources that can help prevent a tragic outcome.

Watch the full music video here: 

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 (L-R: Chris Stapleton, TriStar Portland Emergency Services Manager Colby Carroll, actor Ben Foster, Morgane Stapleton, actor Margarita Levieva)