On March 24, 2020 Grant Halliburton Foundation welcomed The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy to share his personal story at its 11th annual Beacon of Hope Community Luncheon at the Omni Dallas Hotel on March 10. The luncheon, presented by The David B. Miller Family Foundation, aims to strengthen the network of mental health resources for children, teens and young adults; promote better mental health; and prevent suicide.
Dixey Arterburn and Ginger Sager were luncheon chairs, and Kylie Hughitt and Jessica Slay, LPC-S were luncheon vice chairs. Kate and Art Anderson served as honorary chairs and Barb Farmer is the luncheon founding chair. Special entertainment featured RAINNE, an alt-pop duo with singer-songwriter Annie Dingwill and saxophonist Justin Klunk. Dingwall performed at the first luncheon in 2010. Steve Noviello, FOX 4 reporter, served as the luncheon emcee.
“Grant Halliburton Foundation’s work and mission are important to me because of my own family’s struggles with mental illness including depression, anxiety and addiction,” said Sager. “I am especially appreciative of the foundation’s Mental Health Navigation Line, which provides much needed resources for families like my own.”
Vanita Halliburton, Grant Halliburton Foundation co-founder and executive chairman, spoke about losing her son. “I wish with all my heart we’d known then what we know now about mental illness and suicide prevention. I will never know what caused my son to give up hope. But I do know there is always hope. There is always help. With your help, Grant Halliburton Foundation will continue to give everything we have to changing and saving young lives.”
The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy shared his personal story of addiction. “Rob Remy did drug treatment along with me when I was 17. He then wrote and sold this story to the National Enquirer. It’s never good when your face and name are on the cover. But my constituents elected me despite the fact that I was a drug addict.”
Kennedy told the story of, while still a Congressman, how he had gone on a binge, blacked out and ended up crashing his car. The next morning, his chief of staff called, and when he showed up on Capitol Hill, national press was waiting to talk to him. His father, Sen. Ted Kennedy, called. Patrick said that what his dad thought of him mattered very much. My dad said, “It looks like you dented your car.”
Patrick remarked, “That’s how it was with my family. If it wasn’t seen, it wasn’t happening. My mother was a debilitating alcoholic. There’s shame and a stigma attached to it, and yet we as kids looked the other way and we ignored it. If she came out in her bathrobe, it was our role to take her back in to her room. In fact, there are multiple members of my family with mental health, addiction and mood disorders.”
He added, “We need to tackle these issues head on. Grant Halliburton Foundation tries to address these issues early. The Here for Texas Mental Health Navigation Line is like having Angie’s List and a Match.com for mental health resources.” Kennedy concluded with the fact that he’s been sober for nine years and has worked hard to set an example for his children.
About Grant Halliburton Foundation
Grant Halliburton Foundation was established in 2006 in memory of a Dallas teen who battled depression and bipolar disorder for several years before his suicide death at the age of 19. The Foundation that bears his name works to help families and young people recognize the signs of mental illness through a variety of avenues including education, conferences, collaboration and encouragement. Grant Halliburton Foundation works to strengthen the network of mental health resources for children, teens and young adults; promote better mental health; and help prevent suicide. The Foundation provides mental health education, training and support to more than 49,000 students, educators, parents, and professionals annually. More information can be found at GrantHalliburton.org.