Birdsong: David Martin New Music Foundation, was founded to commemorate the spirit and memory of musician David Martin who died at the age of 30 from mental illness due to lack of treatment options in Canada. David’s love and passion was for song-writing and performance and he was never far from his guitar throughout his short life. Founded by David’s mother — Margaret Konopacki — Birdsong is dedicated to helping others like David to find a way out of the darkness of life with mental illness by sharing their music and story.
Music is our communication for change and empowerment
Why we're here
Mental illness is real. Mental Illness is as real as cancer – it can kill you if untreated. The statistics are staggering and we all know someone who did not make it and the cause was mental health issues often in conjunction with drug use.
- In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness.*
- Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures.*
- Almost one half (49.5%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor.
- By age 40 about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness.*
- Suicide is one of the leading causes of death - 24% among 15-24 year olds, 16% among 25-44 year olds.*
- The mortality rate from suicide among men is four times the rate among women.*
- Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.*
*(Canadian Mental Health Association)
It may be hard to accept, but that includes people all around you: your family members, your friends, your neighbours, and your children.
Mental Illness is misunderstood; mental illness is often misdiagnosed for many years and people struggling with mental illness are often shamed, discriminated against, and do not share their situation for fear of being stigmatized and loosing independence and often jobs and friends.
It is our hope through Birdsong, to continue the dialogue and to help save lives. In today’s world, better solutions already exist but they are not free. The lack of halfway houses, lack of treatment centres, lack of understanding and education, and the long waiting list to get into treatment should no longer be an option — this epidemic is happening in Canada and around the world — including our neighbours in the United States.
David Martin died Sept. 24, 2017, two blocks from Parliament Hill in Ottawa — because there was no half-way house available after his two month voluntary stay at a psychiatric hospital in Ontario. David wanted help, and had to wait four months to be admitted into a psychiatric hospital. When he was released, there was nowhere for him to go but to his mother’s home. Feeling hopeless, David did not survive. David was not a victim but a martyr of our system. This is how Birdsong was born. From the ashes we will rise with a message of hope through beautiful, unforgettable music.
“Playing my own music is often the only place left to go to find love and peace”
– David Martin, September 2017