Friday, April 30, 2010

30 by 30

No, it’s not a room measurement. It’s not a diet goal or a sports reference or a new film. It’s a list of 30 things our friend Jessica wants to accomplish by her 30th birthday. On her list was organizing an event to raise money for a nonprofit, and last Saturday, April 24, Jessica achieved that goal by hosting a garage sale to benefit the Grant Halliburton Foundation.

Jessica asked friends, family and neighbors to donate items for the sale, and the response was overwhelming. Jessica’s spare bedroom was quickly filled with bags of clothing, shoes, purses, toys, housewares, furniture, and much more. She recruited church friends to help organize the event.

Jessica and friends
Liz, Jessica, Amy, Kristi and Bethany

GHF Staff
Priya, Diana and Vanita
Shoppers turned out in spades to hunt for treasures among the tables spread across Jessica’s front yard. We were there to help with the sale and to provide information about the Foundation.

Thanks to the efforts of Jessica and her friends, the garage sale raised over $2,300! We are so grateful that Jessica chose the Grant Halliburton Foundation as the recipient of #19 on her 30 by 30 list. The dollars raised will be put to good use as we forge ahead to better serve the mental health needs of teens and young adults in our community.

Priya, Bethany, Jessica, Liz, Amy and Kelsey

Are there ways that you might help the Grant Halliburton Foundation? No matter how large or small, anything that raises awareness or funds for this important cause will have a vital and lasting impact. Let us know if you have ideas!

We won’t disclose how long Jessica has to complete her 30 by 30 list, but she is working her way through some challenging and fun new ventures. What’s next? You may find her learning another language, sleeping under the stars, or delivering flowers to a stranger in the near future!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Women H·E·R·E holds first "Beacon of Hope" Luncheon

Women H·E·R·E, the auxiliary group of the I AM H·E·R·E Coalition, held its first “Beacon of Hope” Luncheon Wednesday, January 27, featuring guest speaker Terry Wise—and what an event it was! More than 150 people gathered to learn about this new group that offers support, encouragement and resources to women with a personal stake in the mental or emotional health of a young person.

Luncheon Team

Founder Barb Farmer recounted her vision for such a group based on her five-year personal journey. Women H·E·R·E launched in September and meets on the first day of each month at Bread Winner’s Café at Inwood and Lovers Lane.

Luncheon guests also heard from Vanita Halliburton, president of the Grant Halliburton Foundation, about the Foundation’s primary initiatives, including the I AM H·E·R·E Coalition. Both of these women are inspiring so many others to talk more openly about the “silent subjects” of depression and suicide among our youth.

Terry Wise
The cornerstone of the program was Terry Wise’s presentation. The author of Waking Up: Climbing Through the Darkness, Terry shared her personal story of depression and surviving a suicide attempt as well as encouraging caregivers who care for those with mental illness. She applauded the efforts of both the Foundation and Women H·E·R·E for addressing not only the needs of teens and young adults, but also the needs of their families, an often overlooked population.

Annie Dingwall performed two songs, including "The Comfort of My Arms," for which she wrote the music and Barb Farmer wrote the lyrics. Annie is a recent graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts and a rising young performer now studying at the University of Southern California. With a silken voice reminiscent of Norah Jones, Annie's performance moved many in the audience to tears.

Annie Dingwall

The buzz as the group left was, “How can I get more involved with W·H·E·R·E and the Grant Halliburton Foundation?” As a growing organization, we have many volunteer opportunities. Call 972-744-9798 or e-mail for more information.

Friday, October 23, 2009

"I Will Never Know Why" by Susan Klebold

In raising Dylan, I taught him how to protect himself from a host of dangers: lightning, snake bites, head injuries, skin cancer, smoking, drinking, sexually transmitted diseases, drug addiction, reckless driving, even carbon monoxide poisoning. It never occurred to me that the gravest danger—to him and, as it turned out, to so many others—might come from within. Most of us do not see suicidal thinking as the health threat that it is. We are not trained to identify it in others, to help others appropriately, or to respond in a healthy way if we have these feelings ourselves.

In loving memory of Dylan, I support suicide research and encourage responsible prevention and awareness practices as well as support for survivors. I hope that someday everyone will recognize the warning signs of suicide—including feelings of hopelessness, withdrawal, pessimism, and other signs of serious depression—as easily as we recognize the warning signs of cancer. I hope we will get over our fear of talking about suicide. I hope we will teach our children that most suicidal teens telegraph their intentions to their friends, whether through verbal statements, notes, or a preoccupation with death. I hope we come to understand the link between suicidal behavior and violent behavior, and realize that dealing with the former may help us prevent the latter. (According to the U.S. Secret Service Safe School Initiative, 78 percent of school attackers have a history of suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts.) But we must remember that warning signs may not always tell the story. No one saw that Dylan was depressed. He did not speak of death, give away possessions, or say that the world would be better off without him. And we should also remember that even if someone is exhibiting signs of suicide risk, it may not always be possible to prevent tragedy. Some who commit suicide or murder-suicide are—like Eric Harris—already receiving psychiatric care.

If my research has taught me one thing, it's this: Anyone can be touched by suicide. But for those who are feeling suicidal or who have lost someone to suicide, help is available—through resources provided by nonprofits like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the American Association of Suicidology. (If you are having persistent thoughts about suicide, call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a counselor. And if you are dealing with the loss of a loved one to suicide, know that National Survivors of Suicide Day is November 21, with more than 150 conferences scheduled across the United States and around the world.)

For the rest of my life, I will be haunted by the horror and anguish Dylan caused. I cannot look at a child in a grocery store or on the street without thinking about how my son's schoolmates spent the last moments of their lives. Dylan changed everything I believed about my self, about God, about family, and about love. I think I believed that if I loved someone as deeply as I loved him, I would know if he were in trouble. My maternal instincts would keep him safe. But I didn't know. And my instincts weren't enough. And the fact that I never saw tragedy coming is still almost inconceivable to me. I only hope my story can help those who can still be helped. I hope that, by reading of my experience, someone will see what I missed.

See original article in O, The Oprah Magazine

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Ray of Sunshine!

Months of work by coalition members is starting to pay off! Our meeting this week was a very high-energy one. Working through the Progression to Wellness Model helped us to pinpoint seven compelling opportunities and seven critical populations. The first opportunity we’re working on is the compilation of a resource databank focused on teen and young adult mental health. Discussions were lively and every team left with an action plan for information-gathering that they’ll report on at the next meeting.

What a great and committed group of folks we have. They don’t miss a beat and jump right in! We even managed to have sunshine for our meeting—a rarity in Dallas this week. Working together we are building that safety net around our young people!

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Myth vs. Fact—What Do People Really Remember?

Suicide prevention and gatekeeper training programs often use the "Myth vs. Fact" format when presenting information. But what do people really remember?

It turns out, according to two recent published reports, that people often confuse the myths with the facts when trying to remember what they read.

This has led to an advisory issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services
and the Texas Suicide Prevention Council not to use the "Myth vs. Fact" format in any training, curriculum, materials or public service announcements.

In one study, researchers looked at health education campaigns designed to motivate people to get vaccinated against the flu. They found that after a delay of 30 minutes, participants who read a "Facts and Myths" flyer about the flu vaccine systemically misremembered myths as facts. They also were less likely to take the desired action of getting vaccinated as compared to those who read a "Facts Only" flyer or the control group who read no flyer.

"People show a bias to think that incompletely remembered information is true, turning 'myths' into 'facts,'" conclude the researchers. "Hence public information campaigns should emphasize information that is true. Repeating false information, even as a warning, can create the unintended consequence of belief in the information."

Schwarz et al also wrote about this phenomenon in the book "Advances in Experimental Social Psychology," Volume 39, published in 2007. "Public information campaigns that confront myths with facts, or warn people that a given claim is false, necessarily reiterate the information they want to discredit. This strategy is successful as long as people remember what is true and what is false. Unfortunately, memory for these details fades quickly."

For more information, read this and other articles in our latest
I AM H・E・R・E Coalition e-newsletter. To see previous e-newsletters, visit

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Before You Drop Your Kids Off at College...

This is the time of year when many parents are taking their kids back to college. We talk to them about classes, finances, schedules and the importance of balancing studying with having fun. Yet, how many of us talk to our kids about depression?

More than half of college students interviewed in an mTV poll said they had been so stressed that they couldn’t get work done sometime during the past semester. Emotional disturbances were cited by students as a key impediment to their academic success.

When these problems are not addressed they can lead to serious consequences. Suicide continues to be the second leading cause of death among college students. In fact, recent studies show that one in ten college students have thought about suicide at some point during the past year.

All this underscores the importance of letting your kids know that it’s okay to reach out for help. Tell them about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Encourage them to monitor their moods as well as reach out if they think a friend is in trouble.

Visit for more information and resources for both parents and students.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Run the Rock for the Grant Halliburton Foundation

Want to run the White Rock Marathon on December 13 and raise money for a good cause?

Here’s one! Run for the Grant Halliburton Foundation and help support better mental health for teens and young adults.

You can do the full or half marathon. Run or walk. Do it on your own or on a team. Check it out at or come to an informational meeting on August 25. Contact us for details.