Submitted by Howie and Marie Field
(October 30, 2023) — Motivational speaker John Halligan presented his story in two sessions to John Winthrop Middle School and Valley Regional High School students and staff on October 25, 2023.
Sponsored by the Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, John’s program addressed bullying, mental health awareness, and suicide prevention. John lost his son Ryan to suicide on October 7, 2003. At the time of his death, Ryan was a thirteen year old middle school student in Essex Junction, Vermont. It was revealed in much greater detail after Ryan’s death that he was ridiculed and humiliated by peers at school and online.
John’s powerful and positive messages emphasized the importance of achieving suicide prevention through self-advocacy and advocacy for others. John talked about being an up-stander and not a bystander when someone is being bullied. Get involved, don’t participate in bullying, and don’t be afraid of apologizing if you owe one.
Most importantly, John emphasized that “You are loved beyond belief!” His presentation was truly a catalyst for change and it is our hope that students were inspired to make a difference. Individuals feeling depressed or bullied should turn to their family, friends, or trusted adults for help because “You’re Worth It.”
We would like to thank Principals Melissa Morgan-Hostetler (above photo, right, with Marie Field) and Michael Barile for hosting John and for providing the time for students to have discussions before and after his presentation.
The mission of the Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, to reduce the stigma of mental illness, and to provide hope and support.