Motivational speaker John Halligan presented his story to the entire school body in two sessions at the Haddam-Killingworth High School on April 27, 2022. Sponsored by the Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc, his 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 13-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 message 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. Students feeling depressed or bullied should turn to their family, friends, or trusted adults for help because You’re Worth It.
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