LEWISTON — Joey Cyr battled depression for decades. During the worst of it, he hid from the world.
But Saturday evening, the 51-year-old Lewiston man stood before a packed house at the Franco-American Heritage Center and sang.
“It’s sharing my road of struggle to help people who are on their own road,” he said shortly before taking the stage.
Cyr was one of more than 40 performers at Tri-County Mental Health’s seventh annual Inspired Voices, a musical event to raise money, awareness and support for people with mental health issues. This year’s proceeds will go to support the needs of veterans and their families.
Organizers hoped to raise $20,000.
“We know that the needs are tremendous,” said spokeswoman Tina Clark.
About 300 people attended the event that featured performances from Tri-County clients, employees and volunteers.
It was the second year of performing for sisters Betty Moore of Lisbon and Rose Lacasse of Harrison. They opened Inspired Voices by leading several performers in a drum circle. Moore, an employee, and Lacasse, a volunteer, said they couldn’t imagine not being involved in the show.
“It gives folks a sense of self-esteem,” Moore said.
“They’re part of something,” Lacasse added.
Charlie Ames has performed in every Inspired Voices show since it began seven years ago. He once needed Tri-County’s help with anxiety and other mental health issues following childhood trauma. He now works as peer co-facilitator in Tri-County’s Rumford office.
“People don’t realize what people go through, even when on the surface it looks otherwise,” said Ames, who called Tri-County “instrumental” in his recovery.
On Saturday Ames played the guitar, accompanying Cyr as he sang “The Great Wall,” a song Cyr wrote about depression, and as he read “Open the Door,” a poem with a similar theme.
Cyr has battled depression since childhood.
“He was inside of himself; he was behind a wall,” said his wife, Denise Cyr.
With help from Tri-County, Cyr said, he’s not behind that wall anymore.
“I want people to know they’re not alone,” he said. “There are people willing to lend a hand.”