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The Connor Sheehan Fund has donated $20,000 to NAMI-NYC’s Ending the Silence program, which addresses our nation’s youth mental health crisis.
The fund was established by Barbara and Dan Sheehan in memory of their son Connor Sheehan, who passed away from a drug overdose in 2020. The money raised through the fund goes towards providing support for programs that help families, educators and peers identify mental health issues and substance use disorders among young people. “We are proud to support NAMI-NYC’s Ending the Silence program in honor of our brilliant, loving son, Connor. Through the Fund, we aim to provide better resources to families dealing with addiction and mental illness,” shared Barbara Sheehan. The fund works with community-based organizations on mental health education, addiction support programs, and advocacy efforts.
“Ending the Silence is such a unique program because it takes an entire community to help young people with their mental health challenges. Parents and school staff need to know the warning signs and connect kids to help immediately,” shared Dan Sheehan, Connor’s father. Undiagnosed mental health challenges can show up as excessive anger, fighting, cutting, substance abuse, social isolating, and issues around eating.
“Thank you to Barbara and Dan of The Connor Sheehan Fund for supporting NAMI-NYC’s Ending the Silence program. Through their own lived experience, Barbara and Dan know the value of talking to kids and teens about mental illness, as well as parents and school staff, to prevent unhealthy coping mechanisms and mental health emergencies,” shared NAMI-NYC CEO Matt Kudish.
“Family, guardians, and educators are part of one big ecosystem and community that can be trained to support students and young people. It’s our hope that school leadership in New York City and beyond remains receptive to such training and developing an open culture around mental health in their schools,” Dan shared.
NAMI-NYC’s Ending the Silence program provides mental health education and awareness to middle and high school students. The program aims to help students recognize warning signs of mental illness in themselves and others, reduce stigma surrounding mental illness, and encourage students to seek help if needed.
The program is presented by trained young adult speakers who share their personal experiences with mental illness and offer insight and resources for students. The program is free and can be requested by schools or community organizations across New York City.
According to the NYC Department of Education, approximately one in five students who could benefit from additional mental health support does not get them. Half of all mental-health and substance use conditions start before age 14.
Learn more or request an Ending the Silence presentation at your school.