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Grant Halliburton Foundation News, April 2011
Youth and Family Support Community Impact Mental Health Beat
Mothers find support through Coffee Days
Staying "connected" helps prevent suicide
Adult-supervised teen drinking may lead to more alcohol use

Mothers find support through Coffee Days

Last year, a Dallas mom named Ann* suddenly found herself in a new role as a parent—dealing with the mental health of her 15-year-old daughter, who had recently attempted suicide.

"When you have a child with a physical illness, people rally around you and offer support," she recalls. "But when you are dealing with depression and other mental health issues, there is so much stigma, it's difficult to talk about it with your friends."

Coffee Days Ann says that she felt very alone as she sought options for treatment for her teen. Then she learned about a group called Coffee Days, an initiative of the Grant Halliburton Foundation that offers support
and encouragement to mothers of teens and young adults with mental and behavioral health issues.

"I really felt like I was walking this road alone," Ann says. "That is, until I went to Coffee Days and met women who were just like me. For the first time I felt that I was not alone and could share what I was going through."

The concept for Coffee Days came from Barb Farmer, who approached the Grant Halliburton Foundation in 2009 with her vision for a group that would offer mothers a safe, confidential setting for sharing experiences and exchanging information, resources, support and encouragement.

Coffee Days was launched in the fall of 2009. Since then, the group has flourished under Barb's direction and continues to draw women seeking the support and encouragement of others who have had similar experiences with their teens and young adults.

"It means the world to me to be able to reach others who are struggling with a teenager or young adult with a mental or emotional health issue," Barb says. "I understand this journey and how important it is to connect with others along the way."

Meetings generally begin with helpful information about books, articles, presentations, events and other resources on youth mental health, followed by open discussion among the group about the challenges they are facing and resources for help.

The group meets at 9:30 a.m. on the first day of every month at La Madeleine Restaurant on the northeast corner of Preston Road and Forest Lane in Dallas. Anyone is welcome to attend. For more information, email Barb Farmer at or

*Name has been changed

Staying "connected" helps prevent suicide

Everyone needs to feel that he belongs, that he is linked to others in relationship, and that he is needed. More and more, we are learning that a person's sense of connectedness to those around him has a profound impact on his mental health and potential risk for suicidal behavior.

Research about the association between connectedness and
connected friends
suicidal behavior dates back to the 1950s, and current research continues to affirm the link.

Family connectedness was the strongest factor in preventing suicidal behavior.

"This underscores the importance of cultivating a sense of belonging for our youth," said Foundation president Vanita Halliburton. "Encouraging positive connections—with peers, adults at school, and especially family—is a vital component in youth suicide prevention."

At the Texas Suicide Prevention Symposium last month, connectedness was emphasized as an important emerging theme in suicide prevention.

"Every kid needs to feel connected to his school," said Scott Poland, nationally known expert on school crisis, youth violence and suicide intervention. "Like it matters that he is there."

Dr. Alex Crosby, medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control, said that one of the CDC's primary strategies is "preventing suicide by building and strengthening connectedness within and among individuals, families and communities."

The Grant Halliburton Foundation has been active on the Texas Suicide Prevention Council for several years and will co-chair the Texas Suicide Prevention Symposium in 2012. Members of the Foundation staff serve on the Texas Suicide Prevention Council as well as the executive board.

Adult-supervised teen drinking may lead to more alcohol use

teens and alcohol Many believe that allowing teens to drink alcohol with parental supervision teaches them to use alcohol responsibly and protects them from developing unhealthy drinking habits.
However, a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that teens allowed to drink with an adult present are more likely to suffer harmful consequences from drinking than teens who are not allowed to drink at all.

To test how the parent-supervised alcohol policy and the zero tolerance policy are related to teen drinking, researchers surveyed more than 1,900 seventh graders, half from Victoria, Australia, and half from Washington State.

By eighth grade, about 67% of the Australian teens and 35% of the U.S. teens had consumed alcohol with an adult present, reflecting cultural attitudes toward underage drinking in each location.

By ninth grade, 36% of the Australian teens in the study had experienced alcohol-related consequences such as injuries, fighting, sexual activity they later regretted, and not being able to stop drinking. About 21% of the American teens reported the same. So, regardless of where they were from, teens allowed to drink with parental supervision were more likely to face alcohol-related problems later.

Based on the results of the study, the authors encourage parents to adopt a "no-use" policy for young adolescents. Allowing teens to drink under supervision sends a mixed message and can actually encourage kids to drink.

"Kids need parents to be parents and not drinking buddies," said Barbara McMorris, Ph.D., the study's lead researcher. "Adults need to be clear about what messages they are sending. Kids need black-and-white messages early on. Such messages will help reinforce limits as teens get older and opportunities to drink increase."

What's New
The New Age of Bullying, 2nd Annual Conference

Online registration is now open for this free back-to-school conference for parents and people who work with youth, presented by the I AM H·E·R·E Coalition.

Saturday, August 13, 2011
8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Salesmanship Club, Oak Cliff Campus Register now

When Life Hands You Teenagers

When Life Hands You Teenagers

Register now for this educational conference for parents, counselors, educators and other people who work with teens, featuring expert speakers on topics related to parenting and understanding teens.

Register now

Wed., Sept. 21
8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Communities Foundation of Texas |map|

Get Up and Give!

Mark your calendar for the 3rd annual Get Up and Give! North Texas Giving Day, when every donation given through DonorBridge to charities will receive matching funds.

If you're planning to give to the Grant Halliburton Foundation this year, this is a wonderful opportunity for your dollars to have a greater impact!

Thursday, September 15, 2011
7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CST
Online giving event

I AM H·E·R·E Coalition is the only coalition in North Texas focused solely on teen and young adult mental health. More than 50 organizations work together in this collaborative community effort.

Tuesday, July 26 | 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Center for Community Cooperation |map|

Coffee Days is an outreach group for mothers of youth with mental health issues. The group meets monthly to share resources, support and encouragement.

Monday, August 1 | 9:30 a.m.
La Madeleine, Preston & Forest |map|

TAG, You're It! teaches teens—and the adults in their lives—how to recognize and help a friend in crisis. Contact us to schedule a TAG presentation for your school or organization.

Check out our online resources to find helpful information, including:
Connect with us
Grant Halliburton Foundation
800 E. Campbell Rd., Suite 290
Richardson, Texas 75081


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Grant The Grant Halliburton Foundation was established in 2006 in memory of a gifted Dallas artist and musician who battled depression and bipolar disorder for several years before taking his own life at the age of 19.

The Foundation is working to help people recognize the signs of mental illness, to help families know what to do before a treatable illness turns into a crisis, and to empower young people to ask for help and know where to get it.