On a crisp, sunny day in Seattle, DJ John Richards is fielding music requests from listeners and also sharing their stories on air. They are darker than the day — deeply personal, emotional, and gut-wrenching accounts of their struggles with depression, anxiety, grief, and more. 

Hundreds of messages flood in via text, email, and social media. It’s a Music Heals day, one of three to four such days the nonprofit radio station KEXP hosts every year as part of its programming that addresses these and other serious issues head on. This one is for people grappling with their mental health. Others are specifically geared toward addiction, grief, and coping with cancer. People share that they’re trying to stay sober. They’re the adult survivors of child abuse. Some are coping with suicidal thoughts. Others are trying to get help for children with mental illness. 

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