Friend’s death leads pair to launch mental health initiative

The late Matt Moran was a carpenter and musician. Marcus Moyneur Photo

Troy Shantz

Matt Moran was the kind of person you’d call when there was no one else to turn to, his friends say.

“He was always down to help every single person,” said local musician Marty Oblak. “It was like a wall hitting you, how much he loved you.

“I feel like he carried everyone else’s burdens.”

While most people put their own interests first, Matt was different, said fellow friend Liwordson Vijayabalan. “He was just trying to be there for others. That was his mission.”

Moran, a carpenter and musician, died suddenly earlier this month following a personal mental health crisis. He was 34.

At the celebration of life that followed, Oblak performed a song he wrote for the occasion called ‘Tidal Wave.’

“It’s a very simple message, for sure,” said Oblak. “Just love people.”

Oblak and Vijayabalan are preparing to record the song, produce a music video and create a clothing line, with all proceeds supporting the Deker Bauer Foundation and Canadian Mental Health Association.

One goal of the collaboration is get people to engage with each other again, face-to-face, Vijayabalan said.

“It’s so easy to pat yourself on the back and do something on social media, like ‘I did my part,’” he said.

“We know that people who don’t have interactions with people, they get lonely, they get depressed.

“Human interaction is huge.”

Oblak and Vijayabalan each own a design and marketing firm in Sarnia — Electric Marketing and TMMRW Inc. respectively.

They’re combining their talents to produce the designs, video and apparel, while Adam Miner at DNA Studios is recording the song at a discount.

Vijayabalan says the Tidal Wave video can serve as a teaching aid for those battling mental health issues.

They’ve also launched a Kickstarter campaign. Once it’s rolling all funds will go towards mental health initiatives in Sarnia.

To learn more about the project or to contribute, visit tidalwavemovement.ca.

If you are in distress, call the Lambton Mental Health Service Distress Line, available 24/7 including holidays, at 519-336-3445.