Grant Halliburton Foundation welcomed Nora McInerny, best-selling author, speaker and podcast host, to share her personal story at the Beacon of Hope at Home Virtual Luncheon on April 30. Presented by The David B. Miller Family Foundation, the luncheon supports Grant Halliburton Foundation’s work providing education, resources and support for children, teen and young adult mental health.
Kylie Hughitt and Jessica Slay, LPC-S were luncheon chairs; honorary chairs were Karen and Mark Carney; and Barb Farmer is the founding luncheon chair. CICI Edwards, an award-winning slam poet/spoken word artist, gave a riveting performance about mental health. Steve Noviello, FOX 4 reporter, served as the luncheon emcee.
Eric Nadel, voice of the Texas Rangers, and The Sopranos actress Jamie Lynn Sigler both gave recorded messages urging viewers to support the Foundation’s work of providing hope and healing.
Vanita Halliburton, Grant Halliburton Foundation co-founder and executive chairman, spoke about supporting the organization she co-founded after losing her teen son to suicide 15 years ago. “I hope you will consider giving to the Foundation because you believe in the future we envision and strive for. A future where suicide is no longer the second leading cause of death for 10-year-olds to 24-year-olds. A future where stigma is a thing of the past, and no one is ashamed to seek help for depression, anxiety or other brain disorders. A future where people know the signs of suicidal crisis as well as they know the signs of an oncoming cold—and know how to get help. A future where children grow up to be resilient, healthy, strong adults.”
Halliburton presented the Beacon of Hope Award to Sharon Grigsby, The Dallas Morning News Metro columnist who has written extensively on mental health and suicide.
McInerny, best-selling author of memoirs It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too), No Happy Endings and The Hot Young Widows Club, shared about her life’s difficult journey. “Seven years ago, I was having a bad year: I miscarried, my dad died, and then my husband died.” When people asked her how she was doing, she would say, “fine.” She used the question, ‘how are you?’ and her least favorite four-letter-word—one that she bans from her blended family of two teens and a 4 and 8-year-old—as the basis of her talk.
“We answer a big meaningful question—'how are you’ -- with the reply ‘fine’ and turn it into small talk. We don’t want to be a burden, a bummer, and we don’t want your pity.” Yet, McInerny believes the honest truth is better than lying, a reason why she named her subsequent podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking. Her podcast is designed to get to the honest truth to the question, “How are you?”
She added, “Bring the honest truth. Model that truth. To be able to sit with our pain or somebody else’s and to validate it, that’s what keeps us going. The answer could be ‘I’m struggling.’”
About suicide, she said, “Suicide is a parent’s worse nightmare. Our kids are not weird or wrong or strange. Growing hurts. Grownups don’t have all the answers, but we’ll help and show up.” Her story of being resilient, living life after the loss of loved ones and mental health was uplifting and powerful.
In the last 15 years, Grant Halliburton Foundation has provided mental health education, training and support to more than 200,000 students, educators, parents and professionals, thanks to funds raised in part by the annual Beacon of Hope event. The Foundation also offers two free community tools to help North Texans find mental health and addiction information and resources:
- HereForTexas.com is a website with a searchable database of more than 900 North Texas providers, designed to help people make informed decisions about mental health care.
- The Here For Texas Mental Health Navigation Line is a helpline that offers people personal assistance with finding providers and resources that match their needs. Help is just a free phone call away at 972-525-8181, and Spanish speakers are available.
Special thanks to the sponsors:
Beacon: The David B. Miller Family Foundation
Visionary: Shelley and Jeff Becker in memory of Alec Becker, Karen and Mark Carney, Barb and David Farmer, Todd Abbott Memorial Fund.
Advocate: BKM Sowan Horan, Matejek Family Foundation, Alyson and Joe Ray, Lisa K. Simmons, Rene and Jimmy Wisch Family Charitable Fund of the Dallas Jewish Family Foundation.
Friend: Vanita and Terry Briley in memory of Grant Halliburton, Debbie and David Fosdick, Kevin and Sharon Hall, Cindi and Alan Halliburton in memory of Grant Halliburton, Parish Episcopal School, The Fullbrook Center.
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. Now in its 15th year, the Foundation has provided mental health education, training, and support to more than 200,000 students, educators, parents, and professionals. The Foundation also offers Here For Texas, which includes HereForTexas.com and the Here For Texas Mental Health Navigation Line. These free community tools aim to offer easy access for North Texans seeking mental health and addiction information and resources. More information can be found at GrantHalliburton.org/.