The Break the Hold (BTH) Foundation is committed to “Break the Hold” on mental illness and provide education about suicide prevention.

Our Mission

Our Mission is to provide school and community-based advocacy promoting youth emotional wellness, resilience and suicide prevention.

Donate Now

Inquire about a Training Camp in your school or community

Who We Are

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

A message from his Father

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)

A message from his Mother

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)

A message from his Brother Brendan

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A message from his Brother Jack

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Some Facts About Suicide

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24
Each day in the U.S., there is an average of over 3,470 attempts by young people in grades 9-12.
Four out of Five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.

What We Do

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.

Be informed
Tackle your fear
Help prevent suicide

Learn About the Training Camp Experience

Details being finalized. Check back soon.

How to Help

Donations of your treasure, time and talent are always welcome. Use the links below to make a donation, participate in a BTH sponsored event, offer your time and talent as a volunteer, or bring a BTH Training Camp to your local school or community.

Donate Now

We are a 100% volunteer run organization. Your contribution will be used directly to support mental illness and suicide prevention training and awareness.

Volunteer for Break the Hold

Inquire about a Training Camp in your school or community

Upcoming Events

Facebook Fundraiser in Memory of Brian T. Halloran

During this holiday season, why not give a gift of a donation towards youth mental…



Thoughts of suicide are common – more than 9 million American adults acknowledged having thoughts…


Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)

ASIST is appropriate for all members of the community regardless of prior experience or training.…


BTH “Raise the Volume Benefit Bowl”

Please join us for our first annual BTH “Raise the Volume Benefit Bowl”. Pull out…


2nd Annual “Into-the-Light” Walk

Please mark your calendars. The 2019 “Into the Light Walk” will be on Sunday, June…



Below are links to additional resources to educate and inform you about mental illness and suicide prevention.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255) or Text “TALK" to 741-741

MHA Westchester
MHA facilitates recovery by providing services that reflect our deeply held values that include the recognition of individual rights of self-determination, choice, shared decision-making and collaborative work. Our highly trained staff utilize evidence-based practices throughout our comprehensive array of trauma-informed and recovery-oriented services.
Pleasantville Strong
To create a safe, healthy, drug and alcohol-free environment for our youth.
JED Foundation
JED is a nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding and action for young adult mental health.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention raises awareness, funds scientific research and provides resources and aid to those affected by suicide. Learn more about AFSP’s mission and history or select one of the items below to discover how we accomplish our work.
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
JCK Foundation
The JCK Foundation was created to further the work of John Cleaver Kelly who succumbed to OCD in March 2011. The Foundation continues John’s initial mission to educate and mentor students with OCD and other mental health disorders
YMH Project
The Youth Mental Health Project is a group of individuals who believe that mental health is imperative to all health. We empower young people, parents, and caring adults with the practical knowledge, support and resources they need to nurture their children’s mental health and intervene when they recognize warning signs.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is an American non-profit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest biomedical research agency in the world. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Photo Gallery

Photos of Brian, Past BTH Foundation Events, BTH volunteers and supporters

Video Gallery


Why We Need to Talk About Depression | Kevin Breel
November 17, 2018


Inspirational words at the start of the Into-the-Light-Walk 
June 10, 2018


Johnny Dorio | Taft School | Enter password:  Johnny
May 8, 2018

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