I had the opportunity to attend a town hall meeting last week in Southlake featuring a presentation by Grant Halliburton. The idea was to start a conversation with the community on how to help teens dealing with all sorts of issues.
This particular event, hosted by S.P.A.R.K.(Students and Parents Against Risks to Kids), was prompted by students at Carroll Senior High. They had a close friend die by suicide. This prompted them to seek out help for themselves and their peers.
This video from NBCDFW explains a little more.
A problem as big as this has many pieces to the solution. The students decided they wanted an event but more importantly an ongoing answer to where to get help. This is where we came in.
The presenter for Grant Halliburton was Vanita Halliburton, mother to Grant for whom the foundation was started. She did a great job of outlining warning signs as well as suggestions for addressing these issues. These tools are invaluable to parents and I would encourage you to visit their website to read more or contact us for a brochure with more details.
The thing that stood out to me toward the end of her presentation was a list of ways to help prevent suicidal thoughts. These included exercise, eating right, sleep, even sunshine. I don’t know if her list was in a particular order but number 1 was Connectedness.
This stuck out to me for 3 reasons. Reasons that drive much of what we do in our support groups. These help us stay focused. Seeing it in a list to help prevent suicide reinforced the importance of being connected.
1. Connectedness effects us every day. There are multiple examples of this and I don’t have time to cover them all here but here are a couple of them I think matter.
- Connection to the right people.
- Connection to the wrong people.
- Connection to something meaningful.
- Connection to a way to grow.
2. Connectedness opens our eyes to a bigger picture. Getting out & connecting helps us see that there are others struggling too. Then we can begin to find solutions and move forward.
3. Connectedness allows us to better other peoples lives. The Teen Lifeline slogan is Life Lived Better. If we never connect with teenagers in need of this hope, we cease to exist. For students this can be an affirmation of why they are alive. Not only do they need people but people need them.
Now the conversation has been started. It is up to us as a community in Southlake, in Tarrant County, in the DFW Metroplex, in Texas and beyond to connect and make a difference by helping and inviting help.
What connections do you have that I don’t? Part of getting connected is sharing resources. Check our resource page for places we recommend then take time to comment and tell us who else we need to connect with.