You are here

Since 2016, Mysterious Barricades has helped raise awareness about mental health and supports and resources available for those who are in crisis. This multi-city concert takes place September 5-14, and brings together hundreds of Canadian musicians from across the country to offer support and hope to those in crisis, highlighting the power of music to connect people to one another and to break down barriers—even when it comes to talking about difficult subjects, such as mental illness. 

The concert is the creation of Beth Turnbull, a member of the Faculty of Arts at University of Alberta, who lost her husband Chris Kubash to suicide several years ago. It is estimated that in any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental problem or illness. Yet, for many, mental illness still remains a highly-stigmatized topic that is difficult to discuss openly.  

Mental health literacy—understanding how to maintain mental health, seek help and identify mental disorders and decreasing stigma—is crucial to building mental health, something that UBC has long championed and further committed to through the development of a Wellbeing Strategic Framework, as well as numerous supports and resources for students, faculty and staff. Events such as Mysterious Barricades, or Thrive (celebrated in November each year), help break down the stigma associated with talking about mental health. 

“Music is a balm for a troubled mind. The international language of music helps find common ground among people of many backgrounds. Mysterious Barricades gathers people together to find peace in a difficult world” says J. Patrick Raftery, a professor at the UBC School of Music, and friend of Turnbull and Kubash. The UBC School of Music has been a supporter of Mysterious Barricades concerts over the past four years, and is proud to champion mental health and wellbeing for its faculty, staff, and students, as well as artists working there. 

Along with highlighting the importance of mental health literacy, Mysterious Barricades connects audiences across numerous provinces through a shared musical experience.  Social connection is another crucial component of fostering and maintaining mental health and wellbeing. 

“Seeing a live music concert lets people have a group experience of unity and community” notes Raftery.  “Naturally letting you enjoy the music you love and maybe let you hear some music you might not otherwise have heard: New people, new experiences, new music, and a new chance at looking at life in a different way.” For those who are unable to attend a concert in person, the performances will be streamed online September 14-21. 

The UBC School of Music invites the community to join in this celebration of music, fostering connections, and building resilience by attending the free UBC Mysterious Barricades concerts on September 14 at Roy Barnett Music Hall, featuring performances by UBC President and Vice-Chancellor, Santa Ono, Nancy Hermiston, Director, UBC Opera Ensemble, and more. 

  • When: September 14, 2019, 7pm-8pm
  • Where: Roy Barnett Music Hall, 
  • FREE Tickets: Eventbrite


Reach out for support if you need help or if you are concerned about a friend or family member. 

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or at risk of harming yourself or others, call 9-1-1 or visit your nearest emergency room.

If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or at risk of harm, call or chat online with a crisis responder any time:

Find out more about resources for students, staff and faculty at UBC:

Do you have a wellbeing example or research project to share?

Submit your story

We all have a hand in shaping campus environments that support health, wellbeing, and sustainability. By championing wellbeing, we can build stronger and more inclusive communities at UBC and beyond.