Pleasantville parents honor late son with push for mental health education
A Pleasantville couple is making efforts to raise awareness about suicide and mental illness a year after their son took his own life.
On Jan. 23, 2018, Jolina and Brian Halloran's world was shattered when their 19-year-old son Brian, a Pleasantville High School graduate, took his own life while away at college in South Carolina.
"Something happens in your life, in one day your whole life is blown up, it's a complete shock," says Brian Halloran.
The Hallorans channeled their sadness into setting up the Break the Hold Foundation. The foundation's main focus is to establish mental health education in school systems.
Break the Hold sponsors a dialectical behavior therapy curriculum at Pleasantville High School. The goal is to teach students to talk about and describe feelings that might not be normal.
"He didn't know how to verbalize it, so this is why we think it's important," says Jolina Halloran. "The education as a school to give kids verbiage to recognize what they're feeling."
In the spring, the foundation is rolling out instructions for parents, teachers and school staff.
In the summer, it will hold another "Into the Light" sunrise walk. Last year, more than 1,000 people walked to raise awareness for mental illnesses.
Extended interview with couple whose son took his life 1 year ago