The Break the Hold (BTH) Foundation is committed to “Break the Hold” on mental illness and provide education about suicide prevention.
BTH was formed as an outpouring of grief and love following the loss of Brian T. Halloran
A beloved son, brother, family member, friend, teammate, and member of our tight-knit community in Pleasantville, NY. A community likely just like yours.
Learn About Brian’s Journey
Personal memories of Brian’s life by family and friends
To my dear son, Brian Thomas Halloran:
How does a father describe or memorialize his recently deceased middle son? Well, as hard as that may be, I am going to try. I get my strength from my son, Brian.
Brian was a great young man with many talents, many friends and a loving family. In other words, he was a son just like anybody’s son. Brian had a great presence to him, was a joy to be around and had a smile that would light up a room. He is my middle son, and will forever be 19 years old, handsome, strong, caring and full of love for life. Unfortunately, and with much family and community pain, Brian passed away on January 23, 2018 from depression by suicide. Brian was a freshman at the University of South Carolina, a Capstone Scholar Award winner, when he plummeted to an emotional low that we were not fully aware of. Before we knew it, a police officer knocked on our door with news that would alter our lives forever. He said, “Mr. Halloran the South Carolina Police have notified us that your son Brian has committed suicide.” The moment seems to be stuck in time and in my head as I continually replay the conversation. First thought….and most hopeful thought – are you sure it is Brian? Second thought is how can I survive this information, what can I do? Third thought, how am I going to tell the rest of my family, Brian’s mother and two brothers, one of whom is away at college? What am I to do with the rest of my life?
That evening and everyday since, I would categorize as a horribly sad movie that does not stop playing. The reality of our situation is extremely difficult to bear and terribly hard to understand. How does one accept the fact that this brilliant young man, a light in our lives is gone by his own hand, because he was in so much pain and confusion at that particular moment? Any attempt to rationalize the situation leads to great frustration and sadness, as we all know that Brian was not thinking rationally at that time. He felt there was no way out of the pain and confusion and that it would never end. This horrible disease – “depression” can break down one’s resilience over time and can turn rational thought into irrational behavior.
I am here to say, LOUDLY, things can change. Things can get better. Fight for your place in this world and for your own happiness. Trust someone! Reach out – we won’t let you down! I will fight alongside you. I will walk with you in this fight. It is not a fight to lose, but is one to win. The odds are in your favor and the rewards are immense. Never say it’s too late! It is never too late! Not when we have each other and we are still on God’s earth. Brian would not encourage others to take a similar path, he would conversely and aggressively encourage others to fight on, that his choice is not the right choice but a choice made out of hopelessness.
I am here to provide hope for all those suffering.
To that end, we as a family and we as a community are fighting back and focusing our efforts on being that helping hand. We know what you are going through as we have lived it. We have established the BTH Foundation to help raise the conversation, to educate our teens and young adults, and to advocate for additional resources to fight the affliction of mental illness. We need to unite in this mission of mental wellness. You are all in our thoughts.
Brian Halloran (father)
My son, Brian, is the middle child of 3 boys. He had been experiencing anxiety and depression the last two years of high school. Depression, like other health issues, effects the entire family and together we supported Brian.
Losing a child has to be one of the worst things a parent can experience in life. Losing a child to suicide complicates the situation. There are many layers, so much guilt, and many unanswered questions like “what could have I done differently?” Your main role as a parent is to protect your children and I felt like I failed Brian because I could not help him feel better.
What I have come to learn about suicide is that it is not a rational decision. Depression is an illness and it takes away a persons ability to think rationally. Brian did not want to die; he wanted to end his pain.
Unfortunately, depression and anxiety are uncomfortable topics. We need to change this mentality and make mental health okay to discuss. Until we remove this stigma, young people will be ashamed to speak about their issues, unwilling to get help and continue to make unhealthy choices such as self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol.
After Brian passed, many children shared their stories of how Brian would take time from his friends to sit and talk with them. They said Brian just knew when they were suffering. They mentioned how his smile would brighten their day and give them hope. Through the BTH Foundation, we want to bring hope to others that are struggling. Together as a community we can remove the stigma associated with depression and anxiety.
Someone recently thanked me for bringing to light the importance of mental health. She said, “You have been blessed with a wonderful gift of being able to make people feel comfortable and included, but you have also been handed the worst in life – the loss of a child.” So what gets me through each day? My faith, family and friends.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, said it best in his book “No Death, No Fear”: “When we lose someone we love, we should remember that the person has not become nothing. “Something” cannot become “nothing,” and “nothing” cannot become “something.” Science can help us understand this, because matter cannot be destroyed—it can become energy. And energy can become matter, but it cannot be destroyed. In the same way, our loved one was not destroyed; he has just taken on another form. That form may be a cloud, a child or the breeze. We can see our loved one in everything."
I believe Brian is with me every day. I feel Brian’s energy. My other two sons are genetically and spiritually part of Brian. We will be able to move forward from this tragedy by focusing on the good: the Break the Hold (BTH) Foundation, our friends and family.
Please remember to BE KIND. You never know what someone else is going through.
Jolina Halloran (mother)
BTH will provide resources and educational programming on mental wellness to high school youth and parents throughout Westchester and nearby communities.
Programming will focus on
Educating communities to be better informed about suicide.
Raising awareness of the warning signs of those most vulnerable to suicide.
Empowering young people to have the courage to speak up.
BTH will establish a scholarship in Brian's honor to a graduating student from Pleasantville High School that demonstrates a commitment, passion, & volunteerism for mental health advocacy.
Tackle your fear
Help prevent suicide
Learn About the Training Camp Experience
Details being finalized. Check back soon.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255) or Text “TALK" to 741-741
Photos of Brian, Past BTH Foundation Events, BTH volunteers and supporters