ST. PAUL – Beneath a subtle, soft light, Shane Larmand stood on the stage, his guitar strapped over his shoulder. With each strum, Larmand sang, his voice drawing the audience in.
The original music spoke about his life’s journey, including his struggles with mental health. Larmand is a husband, a father, and a teacher. He has been employed with St. Paul Education for 15 years, currently teaching at F.G. Miller in Elk Point.
But he is also a musician. On Jan. 30, he held a keynote concert, where he aimed to create awareness around men’s mental health, and mental health in general, by sharing his story. The keynote concert combines speaking about a certain topic with music.
Larmand, talking to the crowd of about 30 people, said he experienced his first panic attack at the end of his high school years. “I don’t know if anybody here has had one of those... but just imagine basically your entire life’s rug gets pulled out from under you,” he described.
At the time, he didn’t know it was obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It wasn't until the age of 38 that Larmand was diagnosed with OCD. Now 48, Larmand has found the proper supports and resources to manage his mental health.
Larmand thanked St. Paul Regional FCSS and Portage College for giving him the opportunity to hold the keynote concert, along with other supporters. He also thanked all the organizations and programs that came out to share their resources.
When it comes to talking about mental health, “the language needs to change in order for people to be able to open up a little more.” Talking about mental health “doesn’t make you some pariah of society or anything," says Larmand.
Larmand believes that it’s just as important to deal with mental health as it is physical health. Also, he reminds people that dealing with mental health does not make a person weak, “In fact, you’re stronger for doing it... you’re not running away from it.”
He hopes to do more keynote concerts in the future and is open to organizations who would be interested in working with him.