From left to right in the photo are Brittany Halleck, teacher and Senior Project Coordinator, Marie Field, and Zulerlisse Colon-Martinez.
AGENTS OF CHANGE
Written by Howie Field
Since October 2018, Marie Field, president of the Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. has been a Social Justice Project Consultant for Zulerlisse Colon-Martinez, a senior at Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford. The purpose of the project is to have seniors demonstrate that they have met the school‘s mission. It is a culmination of all that they have learned about social justice and becoming agents of change. To complete the project, students need to reach out to the community and get involved in a social justice issue that they wish to change. In addition to writing a research paper for her project, Zulerlisse chose to educate other students on the topics of mental health and suicide prevention. She met with them on a weekly basis presenting various scenarios for discussion, teaching about mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, discussing suicidal warning signs and sharing resources where people can obtain help. As part of the project on April 18th, Marie spoke to a group of students and discussed why our Foundation was created and the activities we have been pursing. The students had well-thought out questions and excellent insight. Zulerlisse’s project will culminate by having the smaller group of students present what they have learned to other students.
The Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation Inc. “You’re Worth It!” team supported the 1st annual Hike for Hope event sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on April 13, 2019. The 3.5 mile hike through beautiful Gay City Park located in Hebron, CT had over 100 hikers that supported the AFSP’s continual efforts to provide mental health awareness, suicide prevention, and hope to our communities.
The Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. participated in the Mental Health and Wellness Expo on March 23 at the Henry Carter Hull Library in Clinton. The Expo, sponsored by Killingworth based Changing Minds Advocacy Group, provided information and support regarding adult and youth mental health services, parenting support, substance abuse treatment, and mindful practices.
Marie and Howie Field would like to extend thanks to Changing Minds Advocacy Group members Melissa Ferrara, Lori Clemente, and Divanna Schmitt for organizing the event. The Changing Minds Advocacy Group is committed to improving the quality of and access to mental health programs, services, and support for local residents.
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 to others. For more information, visit our website nathanielfield.org
One-Man Show Tackles Complex Issues
The Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. sponsored actor John Morello’s performance D.I.R.T. for 7th and 8th grade students, staff, and parents at H-K Middle School February 26, 2019. John’s skits covered a wide range of social issues that impact both young and old, including depression, drug and alcohol use, inclusion, bullying and suicide prevention. He explores the challenges and decisions that students face. John inspired the school assembly to take action by urging them to reflect upon choices they make in their daily lives, from what they put in their bodies, the way they treat each other, and the way they treat themselves.
Marie and Howie Field would like to thank science teacher Robin Duffield, and principal Dr. Jennifer Olsen for coordinating John’s appearance at the middle school.
Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation Board of Directors members Marie and Christiana Field presented Richard Shulman, founder of the non-profit organization Volunteers in Psychotherapy, Inc. with a non-restricted grant of $1000 on December 11, 2018. This grant will enable VIP to continue their community mental health initiatives.
“Volunteers in Pyschotherapy (VIP) is a community nonprofit organization that provides one charitable service: access to private psychotherapy – almost always for no fee. Clients “pay for” their therapy by doing independent volunteer work for a charity, nonprofit or government program. VIP provides access to psychotherapy regardless of someone’s ability to pay or insurance coverage. An alternative to insurance-covered psychotherapy, and problems encountered at public clinics, VIP preserves people’s privacy to the maximum extent permitted by Connecticut State Law.
VIP offers access to private “talk” psychotherapy only, with no other therapist involvement in clients’ lives and no involvement of third parties. We don’t speak to others about VIP clients, and won’t provide reports or evaluations to third parties such as lawyers, courts, police, or employers. We maintain this framework so that our clients can honestly discuss and explore difficult and sensitive personal or family matters knowing that their privacy will be maintained.
VIP provides access to licensed psychotherapists who try to help clients understand complications, confusions and problems in their lives, as they get to know them. Clients maintain their independence, maintain control of their lives and remain responsible for their decisions and actions – like any other person.
DECEMBER 8, 2018 NIANTIC 5K JINGLE BELL WALK
Marie and Howie walked in the Niantic 5K Jingle Bell Walk held at McCook Park in Niantic December 8, 2018. Sponsored by the the Brian Dagle Memorial Foundation, Marie and Howie enjoyed the walk with over 800 participants held on a beautiful fall morning on Long Island Sound, Ann and Paul Dagle started the walk in memory of their son Brian.
Reflections on September and Suicide Awareness
Written by Marie Field
September marks the start of many new and exciting events in our lives - the start of a new school year for primary, secondary, and college-aged students, both young and old, the start of many local fairs, the start of the beautiful Autumn season which fills our eyes with a multitude of rich colors, and the start of getting back into a routine for many of us who are fortunate to have time to relax and enjoy the summer sun. These are all great events, so why is September suicide prevention and awareness month? Moreover, why would anyone want to read and reflect on an article about suicide prevention? One might think, “What a depressing topic for a month that has so many fresh beginnings” or “That only happens to other people not in my family.” But, perhaps you will read this and take a moment to reflect on my words because at this point, most of us know, or have heard about, someone who has taken his or her life. The ripple effects can be enormous. My goals here are only positive ones: first, to educate people on an issue that many shove under the rug and will not talk about, despite the fact that suicide is considered an epidemic in this country, and second, to help save lives. Suicide is preventable if we work together.
Suicide and mental illness go hand and hand and there is a negative stigma that needs to be eliminated with both of these topics. It could be a deep depression that one spirals down into and can’t see a way out, or voices in one’s head that don’t stop saying what to do, or an anxiety that is so debilitating one feels immobile, or a recurring substance or alcohol addiction that one fears will never be beat. We, as a society of well-intentioned human beings, need to keep the conversations going so those who are suffering are willing to seek help and not hide under the heavy and lonely rock of shame.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide rates have steadily increased in Connecticut and across our nation, year after year. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for ages 15-34. On average, one person dies by suicide every 22 hours in Connecticut. While these data are the most accurate I’ve found, organizations like the AFSP estimate the numbers to be higher, as the stigma surrounding suicide commonly leads to underreporting. Although rates differ depending on age, gender, ethnicity, and race, I want to be very clear that suicide DOES occur in ALL demographic groups. Suicide has no prejudice!
Additionally, “There is no single cause to suicide. It most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition.” Often this condition is undiagnosed or untreated. However, it is important to remember that the majority of people who continuously manage their mental health conditions go on to succeed in life. So what are suicide warning signs? According to the AFSP, “Something to look out for when
concerned that a person may be suicidal is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.” However, some people put on masks of steel and give us absolutely no warning signs. Furthermore, mental or physical health conditions, environmental factors such as access to lethal means, prolonged stress, or bullying, and historical factors such as previous suicide attempts, family history of mental illness or suicide, or childhood trauma are considered suicide risk factors. For more information on warning signs and risk factors, please visit AFSP.org.
My 16-year-old son, beautiful in every way, took his life on April 12, 2015. It not only shocked our family, but his friends, teachers, coaches and all who knew him. Some of you may think I was blind to his suffering: How could a mother not know something was wrong? Believe me, I desperately wish I knew because I would have done everything in my power to help save his life! But today, in my heart, I know that Nathan, an intelligent, yet sensitive soul, wore a mask of steel, not telling anyone that he was struggling. He was excelling academically, involved in numerous clubs, on the track team and co-captain of the tennis team. He had plans to visit a number of colleges the following week. Nathan had his driver’s permit and was excited about getting his license and he was looking forward to going to prom. He was a normal kid who relaxed playing video games with his friends or catching (and releasing) the long black snake that visits our yard every summer. Nathan enjoyed fooling around with his numerous cousins at our big family get-togethers and standing back to back with his two tall uncles to see if he had surpassed their height. On the outside, he appeared to be a typical teenager who gave us no reason to suspect that he was having difficulties.
What gives me a little bit of serenity is that I also know Nathan is now at peace. On September 15, 2015, my husband and I created the Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc., not only to honor his life, but to speak up about mental health and suicide and to help others who are suffering - whether it is from a suicide loss or someone who is concerned about a friend or family member. Our mission is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, to reduce the stigma of mental illness, and to provide hope and support.
The most important message I want to leave you with is that we can’t always control or change the things that happen to us in life; it’s about how we respond to our challenges and how we respond to the challenges of others. We will all go through tough times, but it is how we get through them and what we learn that matters. So what can we do? We can realize that tomorrow is a new day and that time changes things. We can look up from our cell phones and iPads, and really see and listen to those around us. We can ask “Hey, how are you? Are you okay?” and really mean it when we walk by someone who just doesn’t seem right. We can say
something when we see something if not to that person, but to someone else who can, and is willing, to help. Any small action that we take may give people who are suffering, our fellow human beings who are hiding under the rock of despair, the courage to stand up, take their masks off, and grab hold of the hand that is helping to save their life. September is a great month for the start of new things and new hopes. I say keep the conversations going, because “You’re Worth It!”.
NATHANIEL B. FIELD MEMORIAL FOUNDATION, INC. AWARDS FOUR SCHOLARSHIPS TO CLASS OF 2018
On June 12th, the Foundation continued with one of its goals! On behalf of the Foundation, Marie Field, President presented four $1000 scholarships to Graduating Seniors from the Haddam-Killingworth Regional School District #17 Class of 2018. The selection process for our scholarship recipients was a very difficult one. All of the candidates were highly qualified individuals who we know will continue to have a positive impact on society. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors. This year’s award recipients from left to right were Jonah Spector, Kelsey D’Amico, Julianne Kelly, and Brooke Catalano.
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.
The Spring Into Hope Celebration was an incredible success!!! We want to thank the Polish Falcons Nest 519, CJ West and the Downtown Train, Rockslide of Durham, and our countless volunteers, donors, bartenders, supporters, Shiny Do-Right Food Truck, Bread Pitt Food Truck, friends and family for making it a special day. We hope that you enjoyed the special event. We saw a lot of people dancing to the bands, playing corn hole, hanging out laughing, and taking advantage of the perfect weather. The children loved the Moon Bounce and bounced the afternoon away.
JOHN MORELLO AT COGINCHAUG REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL FEB. 12, 2018
The Nathaniel B Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. sponsored actor John Morello to perform at a school wide assembly at Coginchaug Regional High School on February 12th. John’s skits covered a wide range of social issues that impact both young and old alike including depression, drug use, inclusion, bullying, and suicide prevention. John is a one-man show that explores the challenges and decisions that people face every day. He inspires audiences to take action by urging them to reflect upon the choices that they make in their daily lives, from what they put into their bodies, to the way they treat one another, to the way they treat themselves.
Students and staff provided feedback after the performance. The following comments are a few of those submitted:
“I thought the performance was a creative way to express important ideas, and I think it engaged us in a way where we were laughing but also we knew the importance of what we were hearing.”
“Incredibly powerful presentation; completely worthwhile-amazing messages woven throughout an excellent, engaging presentation.”
“I believe that it was beneficial because it showed different scenarios of people dealing with similar problems. I could relate with many of their problems.”
“The performance was powerful, personal, and skillfully acted. It was meaningful and indescribably valuable to the students and even teachers of the school.”
“John Morello's performance was fantastic. I think it was one of the more realistic and relatable assemblies our students have been exposed to. John captivated our students and held their attention for the entire session. I really enjoyed the performance and how the stories all became connected and relatable.”
Marie and Howie Field would like to thank CRHS principal Brian Falcone, staff, students, and the Durham-Middlefield communities for their support.
Marie and Howie supported the Brian Dagle Memorial Foundation on December 9, 2017 by participating in the Niantic 5K Jingle Bell Walk held at McCook Park in Niantic. It was a beautiful New England morning on Long Island Sound. Ann and Paul Dagle started the walk in memory of their son Brian.
The Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. recently supported two events held at Pratt&Whitney. The UTC-4-VETS event held in September was focused on United States military veterans employed by Pratt&Whitney and UTC and the need for mental health initiatives to help our veterans. Howie participated by setting up a booth and providing informational materials regarding the foundation’s mission and informational material from the Veteran’s Administration. The second event was the Pratt&Whitney Health Fair held in October. Again, Howie set up a booth and teamed up with a PW Employee Assistance Program counselor and answered questions from PW employees in attendance at the Health Fair. The Foundation will continue to promote positive initiatives that support mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
During Suicide Awareness Month in September, Howie set up a booth weekly in the Pratt&Whitney cafeteria, handing out brochures and speaking about suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Also, in conjunction with reporter Meghan Peterson, Marie and Howie wrote 2 lengthy articles for Haddam Now about our Foundation and suicide prevention.
Out of Darkness Walk September 23, 2017
We'd like to thank everyone for supporting the Out of Darkness Walk held on Sept. 23. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Saturday was a perfect day for an event meant to promote the discussion focused on suicide prevention and mental health awareness. The You’re Worth It Team comprised of Hannah Casey, John Griffo, Tiana, Marie, and Howie Field raised $465 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in support of the cause! There were 500 people participating on Saturday on the bank of the Connecticut River, the largest crowd to date! The day meant a lot to us and all who participated on Saturday. The Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. will continue to support events such as these to promote mental health awareness.
SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH
September 2017 is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to come together with collective passion and strength around a difficult topic. The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can change a life.
It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention.
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.
Each year, more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss. In many cases, friends and families affected by a suicide loss (often called “suicide loss survivors”) are left in the dark.
Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly.
People are often reluctant to intervene, even if they are quite concerned about someone. There are many reasons for this, not least that they fear they will not know what to say. It is important to remember, however, that there is no hard and fast formula. Individuals who have come through an episode of severe suicidal thinking often say that they were not looking for specific advice, but that compassion and empathy from others helped to turn things around for them and point them towards recovery.
Another factor that deters people from starting the conversation is that they worry that they may make the situation worse. Again, this hesitation is understandable; broaching the topic of suicide is difficult and there is a myth that talking about suicide with someone can put the idea into their head or trigger the act.
The evidence suggests that this is not the case. Being caring and listening with a non-judgmental ear are far more likely to reduce distress than exacerbate it.
NATHANIEL B. FIELD MEMORIAL FOUNDATION, INC. AWARDS FOUR SCHOLARSHIPS TO CLASS OF 2017
On May 30th, the Foundation continued with one of its short term goals! On behalf of the Foundation, Marie Field, President presented four $1000 scholarships to Graduating Seniors from the Haddam-Killingworth Regional School District #17 Class of 2017.
The selection process for our scholarship recipients was a very difficult one. All of the candidates were highly qualified individuals who we know will continue to have a positive impact on society. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors.
This year’s award recipients were Allison Zupan, Caitlyn VonFeldt, Noah Miller, and Jordan Clemente.
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.
SPRING INTO HOPE HAPPY HOUR APRIL 28, 2017
The Spring Into Hope Happy Hour held at the Polish Falcons of America Nest 519 on April 28th was a tremendous success! There was a standing room only crowd at the Friday night event, and we’d like to thank our talented musicians, Kathy and Jessica, and all the merchants, friends, family, community members, sports teams, and Polish Falcon members for their continued support as we work together to make a difference. It was great to see everyone supporting our cause and having a good time laughing and enjoying a Friday night out. We are in the process of selecting recipients for the 2017 Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. scholarships to be awarded at the Haddam-Killingworth High School on May 30th.
SAVE THE DATE!!!!
Just a reminder to our supporters and friends that the Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. is sponsoring our SPRING INTO HOPE Happy Hour on April 28th from 5-7PM at the Polish Falcons Nest 519, 144 Prout Hill Road, Middletown, CT. The event is open to the general public so bring your friends and colleagues for a fun night filled with live music, great food, raffle prizes, and a 50/50. For those of you who have generously offered to donate a raffle prize, please contact Marie or Howie by April 21st and we will come by and pick it up. We hope to see you there! Your on-going support is greatly appreciated as we all work together to make a difference in our support of suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
Marie and John at Valley Regional High School
The Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. recently teamed up with John Morello on March 24, 2017 in bringing John to Valley Regional High School in Deep River, CT. John captivated the audience of high school students and staff as he wove his personal stories that covered a wide range of topics including substance abuse, mental health awareness, inclusion, and suicide prevention.
At the conclusion of the assembly, John answered questions from many students in the audience as they shared their personal experiences with him. It was evident from the audience participation that John’s performance had a positive impact on promoting the dialogue revolving around issues that touch all our lives. We want to thank John and Valley Regional High School for supporting our cause as we continue our efforts to prove “YOU’RE WORTH IT”.
Associate Principal at Valley Regional H.S. Carolyn Glunblee commented on the impact that John's performance had on the students and faculty:
"John Morello’s DIRT program continues to positively impact our students. Students responded positively to the assembly; it truly brought the issues of mental health and drug use, along with others, into focus for our entire school. The program ensured that all students and staff were provided with an opportunity to reflect on circumstances that they or others may be experiencing".
The Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. sponsored two school wide assemblies for students and faculty with actor John Morello performing in the Haddam-Killingworth Middle School auditorium on January 6th, 2017. DIRT is a one-man show that explores the challenges and decisions that young people face every day. John Morello inspires student to take action by urging them to reflect upon the choices that they make in their daily lives, from what they put into their bodies, to the way they treat one another, to the way they treat themselves. Students were encouraged to ask John Morello questions at the end of each performance. The Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. would like to thank Haddam and Killingworth residents for their continued support of the foundation’s efforts to have a positive impact on our communities.
Jenn Olson, principal of Haddam-Killingworth Middle School shared the following comments with John Morello:
"Thank you so much for coming to HKMS last week to share your work with our students. I heard many remarks from students and teachers about your presentation. One of my favorite comments from an 8th grade student was "Wow, that really felt like a presentation designed for older middle school kids, not just one for 5th graders." I also heard from several parents that the lunch conversations with our 7th and 8th grade students were big hits with their children. Many thanks!"
The Happy Hour held on Nov. 18th at the Polish Falcons Nest 519 was a great success!!! We want to thank all the volunteers and supporters for their hard work and encouragement in support of our cause.
Giving for Living
Because “You’re Worth It!”
Please join us for a fun filled happy hour at the Polish Falcons of America Nest 519, (located at 144 Prout Hill Rd, Middletown, CT) Friday Nov. 18th from 5-7pm. Enjoy delicious free food, live music by Bourbon Chaser, great raffle prizes and a 50/50!
For more information, contact Marie or Howie Field at NBFMF@comcast.net, www.nathanielfield.org or www.facebook.com/NathanielB.FieldMemorialFoundation
The Nathaniel B. Field Foundation, Inc. fundraiser held on October 11, 2016 at Dino’s Pizza Restaurant in Higganum, CT was a great success! We want to thank Dino, Stella, the Meleounis Family, and Dino’s staff, Haddam and Killingworth community members and businesses, our friends, neighbors, and family for their continued support. The food was delicious thanks to Dino and his staff. Creative Cakes by Donna donated the cupcake desserts. Our Foundation is growing, and we are pursuing several activities in the near future. Our plan going forward is to continue to grow and to support a variety of activities, programs, and events in our local communities.
October 11, 2016 from 5-8pm
Dino’s Pizza Restaurant Higganum, CT
Dino says “YOU’RE WORTH IT!”
Dino’s Pizza Restaurant and the Meleounis Family are hosting a fundraiser to benefit the Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 from 5-8pm. Come and enjoy delicious food and support a worthy cause.
The meal will be served buffet-style and the cost is $12 for students and $20 for adults. Take-outs are also available.
The menu includes:
Fresh Mozzarella, Sundried Tomatoes, Artichoke and
Green Olives on a skewer
Tenderloin Kabobs with Roasted Vegetables
Penne Pasta (with or without Marinara sauce)
Sausage and Peppers
Coffee, tea, and soft drinks (Beer and wine available for additional cost)
Dino’s Pizza Restaurant is located at 968 Killingworth Road, Rt. 81, Higganum, CT.
For more information, please contact Marie or Howie Field at NBFMF@comcast.net, www.nathanielfield.org or www.facebook.com/NathanielB.FieldMemorialFoundation
SEPT. 22, 2016 SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH
PRATT&WHITNEY LUNCH AND LEARN
For Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Howie Field took part in a Pratt & Whitney event sponsored by the Military Engines Lunch and Learn group. He helped to spread the message by having a frank and open discussion about his son’s suicide and his foundation’s efforts to save lives through suicide prevention and mental health promotion.
Howie told the group that “people of all ages and walks of life suffering from mental illness are reluctant to seek help due to societal norms. One of our foundation’s goals is to talk about mental illness in an open forum in an effort to break down barriers and promote a candid dialogue about mental health….So many of you are wondering what I can do to help prevent suicide. A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn't mean that help isn't wanted. People who take their lives don't want to die—they just want to stop hurting.” He continued to discuss how to recognize warning signs and how to respond to a suicidal individual.
The audience responded positively to the dialogue, and offered their support and gratitude for the foundation’s efforts. Howie would like to thank Nancy Bieri and Corie Pol, and Pratt & Whitney for sponsoring the event.
JUNE 01, 2016 HADDAM-KILLINGWORTH HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS CEREMONY
On June 1st, the Foundation reached one of its short term goals! On behalf of the Foundation, Marie Field, President presented five $1000 scholarships to Graduating Seniors from the Haddam-Killingworth Regional School District #17 Class of 2016. The selection process for our scholarship recipients was a very difficult one. All of the candidates were highly qualified individuals who we know will continue to have a positive impact on society. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors. The award recipients were Sarah Blewett, Joseph Bosco, Jillian Clemente, Zachary O'Toole, and Annelise Walsh. Congratulations!!
NBFMF RECEIVES $3000 DONATION FROM KIDS FOR KIDS DANCING FOR LIFE, Inc. ON APRIL 23, 2016
On April 23, Marie and Howie were invited to the Kids for Kids Dancing for Life, Inc. Annual Dance Competition in North Haven, CT to receive a generous $3000 donation to support our Foundation’s efforts. Alexis Nuhn, a Haddam-Killingworth Junior nominated our Foundation for the donation. The goal at Kids for Kids is to be the catalyst that helps to erase the homelessness, illness and other struggles that many children are faced with. We want to thank them for their incredible support.
MARCH 12, 2016 KICKOFF BENEFIT
The March 12th Kickoff Benefit at the Polish Falcons of America Nest 519 was a tremendous success thanks to all the support and donations that we received from many individuals and businesses. The food was delicious thanks to Tom McDowell and his staff at Pavilion Catering, and Cakes by Donna. There were many raffle and silent auction prizes contributed by local businesses and individuals. Bill Sweet’s band On The Side sounded great and was a lot of fun to dance to. Our Foundation’s Banner flew over the stage thanks to the hard work of Carla Carpenter and her team. Once again we would like to send a special thanks to the Polish Falcons and its members for all their love and support over the last year. Our Foundation is growing, and we have learned a great deal this past year. Our plan going forward is to continue to grow and support a variety of activities, programs, and events.
NBFMF PARTNERS WITH HADDAM-KILLINGWORTH HIGH SCHOOL IN BRINGING JOHN MORELLO to the HIGH SCHOOL FOR TWO SCHOOL-WIDE ASSEMBLIES
The Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. partnered with the Haddam-Killingworth High School in bringing actor John Morrello to the H-K High School on February 04, 2016 for two assemblies. John Morello is most known for creating the critically acclaimed one-man show "Dirt".
From Left to Right: Alicia Sledzik, Tony Sledzik, Howie Field, John Griffo
You’re Worth It! Team Supports AFSP Out of Darkness Walk
The Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. “You’re Worth It” team supported Niantic’s 2nd annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk! sponsored by the Brian Dagle Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) held on Sept. 19, 2019 at McCook Park in Niantic. Local residents Alicia and Tony Sledzik, Howie Field, and John Griffo joined over 200 participants in the 2 mile walk along the Niantic Boardwalk. The goals of the Out of Darkness Walks are to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss.
Pratt and Whitney Pratt Chat World Mental Health Day
Rob McGuinness: October 10 is World Mental Health Day. The goal, according to the World Health Organization, is to raise awareness of mental health issues. This is a topic that we've covered before on Pratt Chat. We'll revisit it today because it’s important. I’m Rob McGuinness, and you’re listening to Pratt Chat.
Rob McGuinness: Howie Field was my guest on Episode 64 and on Episode 75. He joins me again today. Welcome back, Howie.
Howie Field: It’s good to be back. Thank you for the invite, Rob
Rob McGuinness: Always happy to have you here.
Rob McGuinness: The focus of this World Mental Health Day is suicide prevention. And I have some statistics from the World Health Organization: 800,000 people die by suicide every year. That calculate out to every 40 seconds, someone losing their life to suicide.
Rob McGuinness: Howie, this is something that directly affected you and your family. For listeners who may not know your story, would you help us understand why mental health awareness is so important to you?
Howie Field: Sure, Rob. In April of 2015, my 16-year-old son Nathaniel died by suicide. At the time, we didn’t realize our son was struggling with a mental health issue. And so, after we had a chance to regroup, in honor of our son’s memory, we created the Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation and we also got involved with other similar groups, particularly the Brian Dagle Foundation in Niantic, Connecticut.
Howie Field: Up until that point, my wife and I never fully realized the extent of mental health issues throughout our society. After talking with survivors and different groups, we realized that it is a huge problem for all of us. So, we created the foundation and we’ve been working with groups to reduce suicide, remove the stigma surrounding mental health and provide hope and support for survivors.
Howie Field: We want everybody to know that you’re not alone. This is a very impactful issue in our society, because, as it turns out, one out of every six citizens in our country suffers from a mental health issue.
Rob McGuinness: You've turned a devastating loss into a force for positive change with the foundation, and that mission is so important. When you are out on behalf of the foundation, what do you hear from the people who visit with you? What are some of the things that they want to talk about?
Howie Field: A lot of the folks that we talk with, that stop by our table or send us email, have been touched by suicide or mental health issues. It occurs across the entire spectrum of our society and the workplace, regardless of age or economic status.
Howie Field: Many of the conversations we have are around losing a family member or friend, and often, the circumstances are similar to my son’s death. That being there was no warning or obvious signs. We are frequently thanked for our efforts, and we hug a lot and cry a lot.
Rob McGuinness: The call for today is 40 seconds of action. We're taking a little more time than that. Let's talk about some of the resources that are available to our colleagues.
Rob McGuinness: If you - as an employee - or a family member are struggling with a mental illness, what should you do?
Howie Field: The first thing that you should do is seek professional help, whether it’s a counselor or a medical professional. Also, within Pratt & Whitney, UTC, we have the Employee Assistance Program, that offers confidential counseling and services to all employees at Pratt & Whitney. I highly recommend that you take advantage of that free services, through our Human Resources and Beacon Health.
Howie Field: And, we have quite a few veterans here at Pratt & Whitney. The Veterans Administration recognizes the extent of mental health issues with the servicemen and women who have served our country. They offer a wide range of services for those folks.
Rob McGuinness: What about people who want to learn more, or who want to help? What can they do?
Howie Field: If you see somebody struggling – it may not even be obvious – but if you think they’re struggling, you should speak with them and offer a helping hand and also offer a suggestion that they seek professional help.
Rob McGuinness: That’s a great point. All we’re talking about is 40 seconds of action. It doesn’t take long to check in with somebody. Ask someone how they’re doing. Listen to what they have to say. Or, talk to someone you trust if you’re having a hard time.
Rob McGuinness: Howie, any final thoughts to wrap up our discussion on mental health awareness?
Howie Field: Our society is becoming more open and vocal in discussing mental health issues and addressing those issues. Certainly our school systems and universities are fostering a more open conversation and are developing and expanding their curriculums. And, in the workplace, companies such as Pratt & Whitney and United Technologies are working with health providers and providing much-needed counseling and services.
Howie Field: On the legislative side, in Connecticut, on July 8, 2019, Gov. Lamont signed legislation that ensures that insurance coverage for people in the state suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorder conditions are treated the same as they would be for other illnesses.
Howie Field: So I think our society is slowly coming to grips with how critical it is to provide help for all folks in our society. The conversation is becoming more open, and I think that’s a good thing.
Rob McGuinness: Listeners, we're going to leave you with some important phone numbers. For employees, UTC has partnered with Beacon Health Options to provide free, confidential counseling for you and your family. You can find them online at www.beacon4utc.com. Or you can call 1-800-288-0882 to speak with a counselor or to get referrals.
And if you know someone who is not an employee, who needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK. That's 1-800-273-8255. Or, you can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK – that’s T-A-L-K – to 741741. It is OK not to be OK. If you are depressed, going through a hard time and need to talk, make the call.
For Pratt & Whitney Communications, I'm Rob McGuinness. Take care, everyone.
Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. Vice President Christiana Field was a speaker at the Annual Forum on Suicide Prevention and Mental Health held at East Lyme High School on September 30, 2019. The event, sponsored by the Brian Dagle Foundation, hosted a panel of speakers who provided insight, education, and inspiration on the issues surrounding mental health and suicide awareness. Christiana shared her personal journey since the loss of her brother Nathaniel to suicide in 2015. In addition, Christiana provided an overview of the Crisis Text Line, and discussed her active role as a volunteer. After 6-weeks of intensive training she began working on text conversations. “The goal of any conversation is to move texters from a hot moment to a calm, safe place. Sometimes that means walking a texter though a grounding exercise, providing a referral for further help, and sometimes it just means being there and listening. I’ve typically found that the majority of my conversations last between 45 minutes and one hour. During the conversation, you move through 5 stages: In stage 1 you build rapport through good contact techniques like active listening and reflective language. In stage 2 you explore the issue at hand. It is during this stage that you conduct the ladder-up risk assessment, which involves 4 steps to assess if a texter is at imminent risk of suicide (desire, plan, means, timeframe). In stage 3 you work to identify the texters main goal, and in Stage 4 you work together to collaboratively problem-solve. Finally, you work to wrap up the conversation with a warm close.”
On September 6th, the Crisis Text Line achieved an incredible milestone of 5,026 active Crisis Counselors in the past 28 days! This is a great indicator of how the organization is growing and allows the platform to reach even more texters in crisis. During that time, counselors handled 83,252 conversations.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students ages 18-24. It’s important that people know they have someone to reach out to 24/7! Currently, only 6.4% of texters learn about Crisis Text Line at school (through their school counselor, posters, in health class, or a supportive teacher). That’s why we’re partnering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to support the bi-partisan Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act (H.R. 3912 / S. 1782). The Crisis Text number in the United States is 741741.
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Haddam-Killingworth Class of 2019 Scholarship Night
Good evening everyone. On behalf of my Board of Directors, some of whom are here tonight, I am once again honored to present 4 $1000 awards to the recipients of the fourth annual Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation Scholarship. Our mission is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, to reduce the stigma of mental illness, and to provide hope and support. To learn more about the activities we have been pursuing, please visit our website nathanielfield.org
Unfortunately, suicide rates continue to rise. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, last year, in Connecticut, suicide became the second leading cause of death for people 15 to 34 years of age. On average, in our State, one person dies by suicide every 22 hours. The statistics are sobering therefore, we plan to continue with our efforts to fulfill our mission statement and to prove our motto that “You’re Worth It”! I am also pleased to have learned that the H-K School District will be embedding mental health topics into the middle school and high school health curriculum. These subjects must be discussed openly with our students and the misconceptions surrounding mental illness must decrease in order to lower the suicide rates and increase the number of people seeking professional help.
To the seniors here tonight, I want you to know that college will come with its rewards and fun times, as well as with a lot of stress and perhaps, what you might perceive as failures. I want to emphasize to you that every college campus has a counseling center, clubs like Active Minds, and other programs that can support you when you need it. You just need to ask! There is no shame in needing help and asking for it.
All of the applicants of the Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Scholarship are highly qualified, intelligent and insightful people who we know will continue to have a positive impact on society and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors. Please help me to congratulate the following scholarship award winners:
Pursuing a career as a mental health professional, Morgan Bowles.
Pursuing a career as a geriatric social worker, Amber Edwards.
Pursuing a career as an aerospace engineer and following graduation, entering into the United States Navy to serve our country, James Martino.
And finally, pursuing a career in anesthesiology, Hannah McLeod
Mental Health First Aid Course A Success
Killingworth based Changing Minds Advocacy Group (CMAG) recently sponsored a two-day course for Mental Health First Aid November 22-23, 2019 at the Killingworth Firehouse. Educator Janine Sullivan-Wiley guided 30 students, including Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors Cecile Haase, Dawn Earley, and Howie Field through the interactive course that provided participants with the knowledge to grow their recognition of the signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions, identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources for individuals with a mental illness or addiction, and increase their confidence and likelihood to help an individual in distress. The curriculum revolved around the Mental Health First Aid 5-Step Action Plan to Assess for risk of suicide or harm, Listen nonjudgmentally, Give reassurance and information, Encourage appropriate professional help, Encourage self-help and other support strategies (ALGEE). For more information about Mental Health First Aid, visit mentalhealthfirstaid.org
CMAG would like to thank the Killingworth Lions Club, HK Youth and Family Services, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Shoreline, Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation, St. Lawrence Church Healing Ministries and the Jared Coffin Memorial Fund for their support.
Photograph by Laura Coffin.