Since Grant Halliburton’s years as a child his family says he was an incredibly gifted and talented child. But as a teenager, something began to change.
“When he was fourteen we learned that he was cutting and at the time we didn’t even know what that meant, but we soon found out that it was a form of self injury linked to emotional pain,” said Grant’s mother Vanita Halliburton.
Voted the coolest kid on campus and king of the valentine’s dance, Grant’s family was shocked at their discovery.
“We immediately got him the help he needed, counseling and he was diagnosed with depression and for the next four and a half years on and off he would feel better and want to stop the medication,” said Vanita Halliburton.
During his freshman year of college, he came home and told his parents that he needed help. They checked him into a thirty day program at a psychiatric hospital in Dallas. Grant took his own life 2 weeks after being released.
“There are a lot of things that I know now that I didn’t know then and one of those things is that when a person is just released from a psychiatric or treatment facility that’s a time of very high risk for suicide,” said Vanita Halliburton.
Grant’s battle with bipolar disorder and depression ended tragically, but his family hopes their organization’s efforts can help others overcome these illnesses.
“We just felt like we had lost the battle for him, but we just took up the fight for other families and other teenagers and young adults who might be suffering from depression or bipolar disorder or any other number of mental health illnesses,” said Vanita Halliburton.
In the DFW area, we lose a young person between the ages of 15 and 24 to suicide at the rate of one every four days. The Grant Halliburton Foundation was created to help decrease that number.
“I would have given anything if I had known then what I know now,” said Vanita Halliburton. “I would’ve given anything if someone put into my hands a list of the signs of a person at the risk for suicide. No one ever told me these signs.”
Through the foundation, Vanita and her daughter Amy have an outlet to share Grant’s story and spread awareness about mental health issues in the community.
“We all know what strep throat looks like in our child,” said Vanita Halliburton. “We all know when a fever is too high and we need to call the doctor. We do not all know what depression looks like.”
“I hope he would be proud of what we’re doing and excited to see that other peoples stories don’t have to end the way ours did,” said Grant’s sister Amy Halliburton.
In addition to their work at the foundation, Vanita and Amy are working on preserving Grant’s artwork, poems, and music.
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