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Page 76 NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2015 9 VIPAWARD vent youth suicide promote better mental health and strengthen the network of mental health resources for young people. She repeatedly stresses that mental illness is simply an- other treatable medical condition and likens societys mindset toward it to the stigma that was associated with cancer not so long ago. People whispered about the C word as if it were a shameful disease. What has changed that A massive ongoing effort to educate the public about cancer says Halliburton. Education Halliburton insists is the key to changing societys attitude toward mental illness. She is a frequent speaker to students school staff parents and mental health pro- fessionals on the importance of recognizing symptoms of mental illness and early inter- vention. Halliburton says that parents should make it a priority to know the symptoms of mental and emotional distress in their teens as readily as they know the symptoms of an oncoming cold or flu. She also believes it is important to educate teens about how to recognize the signs of mental distress in each other because teens often show different aspects of themselves to peers and can tend to hide feelings or problems from their parents. Vanita Halliburton is a fighter and an inspiration. She says that after Grants death she felt she had lost so much more than her son she lost her foundation and her faith. She fought her way out of this abyss of hopelessness and despair and she found a way to use her heartbreak to help others. Halliburton says the thought of another young person suffering and giving up hope or another family struggling to find the right help for their child helped her realize what she had to do with the next chapter of her life. She believes that Grant would be pleased with the work the Foundation is doing to help teens and young adults navigate the darkness of mental illness. Halli- burton says Grant was one of the most genuinely caring people Ive ever known. He touched many lives with his boundless capacity to support and encourage. Like mother like son. When you meet Vanita you are instantly mesmerized by the unlikely combination of grace and grit. Instead of sinking into an abyss we all imagine wed want to fall into this devastated mom breathes life into her sons legacy by pouring her heart into educating families and inspiring us to change our attitude toward mental illness. To say she inspires us is an understatement of epic proportions. - Sheryl Pidgeon editor-in-chief GLF To nominate someone you know for the GLFVIP Very Inspiring Parent Award go to KEEPING AN EYE OUT FOR SIGNS OF MENTAL ILLNESS IN TEENS The key word is changewhich can come in the form of uncharacteristic anxiety fearfulness irritability anger aggression conflicts with others changes in eating or sleeping habits falling grades or use of alcohol or drugs. Halliburtonisafrequentspeakertostudentsschoolstaffparentsandmentalhealthprofession- als on the importance of recognizing symptoms of mental illness and early intervention. Half of allmentaldisordersbeginbytheageof14.Thisfactaloneshouldconvinceusthatearlyinterven- tion is essential to maintaining good mental health for our children. Our VIP Very Inspiring Parent Award honors the everyday and not-so-everyday heroes in our midst. Those whose tenacity integrity and courage inspire others to exemplify the same character and put their families and community first in spite of the challenges life has thrown at them. Good Life Family will present the recipient with an elegant crystal award and will make a donation to the charity of their choice. There will be on VIP award recipient in each issue of Good Life Family magazine and featured on GoodLifeFamilyMag. com. For complete details or to nominate visit or email Tricia Untitled by Grant Halliburton