A self-proclaimed survivor, Linda Phillips was a bona fide warrior for the Athens music scene.
In 1999, Linda founded the Nuçi Phillips Memorial Foundation in memory of her 22-year-old son, who suffered through a long battle with depression and ended his own life on Thanksgiving Day, 1996. Nuçi was a talented musician and a promising student at the University of Georgia. Having lived the course of Nuçi’s illness with him, Linda recognized the need for obstacle-free, user-friendly ways of treating and supporting those who suffer from depression and other related brain illnesses. Focusing on Nuçi’s fellow musicians, the nonprofit Foundation opened the doors to Nuçi’s Space on September 30th, 2000.
Throughout her son’s struggle, Linda recognized the stigma that mental illness can bring upon its victims. She remained a champion of mental illness awareness and a vocal proponent for reform. In 2016, she released her memoir, A Beautiful Here, which chronicles her journey to find joy again after losing her son. In this tender retelling of the most painful experience of her life, Phillips not only gives raw insight into the reeling effects of suicide on her family and herself, she examines the process that helped her regain herself in the aftermath. Her insights offer a hopeful, effective solution. In this case, the focus has been on musicians, the creative community, and the community at large. In January of 2021, Linda Phillips passed away after losing a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Nuçi’s Space’s mission is to prevent suicide. With a focus on musicians, the organization advocates for and helps alleviate the suffering of those living with a brain illness and fights to end the stigma of mental illness. Standing in the shadow of the famed St. Mary’s steeple, Nuçi’s Space maintains a health and resource center for musicians as a safe space to seek support and guidance. The building is home to low-cost rehearsal spaces, subsidized health care, youth programs, a recording studio, and education about awareness, prevention, and the risk factors of brain illness. If you’re in the area, please stop by and visit at 396 Oconee St.