An Evening of Storytelling with Kevin Breel, Benefitting Suicide Prevention
By Rachel Papke
Boston, MA— On October 4th, at 6:00pm, the Jordan Porco Foundation will host their Together at the Table event at the Hard Rock Café Boston, raising money to prevent suicide, promote mental health, and create a message of hope for young adults.
Their guest speaker is Writer, Comedian, Activist – Kevin Breel. As a writer, his debut memoir ‘Boy Meets Depression’ achieved critical acclaim. Forbes Magazine called it “a small book well worth reading” and NPR dubbed it “honest and compelling”. As a comedian, Kevin has headlined theatres and colleges with his unique, storytelling show. And as an activist for mental health, Kevin has been a guest speaker at Harvard University, Yale, and MIT.
Immediately following Kevin’s inspired storytelling of lived experience, the dynamic mother-daughter duo – Rondi and Emma Charleston will perform. Rondi is a jazz vocalist who matches superior musicianship with a unique ability to craft resonant narratives. Her daughter Emma is an up-and-coming folk pop singer-songwriter with electronic influences who crafts stories about what it’s like growing up during this time. Emma is graduating from Berklee College of Music in the Spring of 2019 with a BM in Professional Music.
“Storytelling is a powerful agent for change. Sharing personal stories with others takes bravery, especially when a person is opening up about their own mental health journey. In doing so, they may feel vulnerable or judged. And while those feelings may exist because of the dark shadow stigma casts on mental health, something far more important and impactful is happening; people are learning, relating—empathizing. Stigma is replaced with a message of hope,” said Jordan Porco Foundation Co-Founder and CEO, Marisa Giarnella-Porco.
An evening of inspired storytelling is what’s in store for guests, and it’s all to benefit national programs that are saving young adult lives across the country. Colleges and universities are hosting Fresh Check Days across the U.S, engaging young adults in important mental health conversations. Post-event surveys show that the vast majority of students who participate say that after Fresh Check Day they felt more aware of available resources, more prepared to help a friend who might be struggling, and more likely to ask for help if they themselves are in emotional distress.
Nine out of Ten Ambassadors are signing-on across the country, shining the spotlight on mental health and suicide prevention with their peers.
4 What’s Next is their newest program. It is a primary prevention program that builds psychological resiliency in high school students by giving them the tools to handle stress and distress now and in their future. Students gain important skills related to coping and help-seeking, and learn how to apply these skills to better manage conflict, time, and money, as examples.
“I think about all the young people we’ve lost to suicide, including my son, Jordan, and the ripple effect of one death, and how it can impact individuals and families for years, and even generations,” said Marisa.
Jordan died by suicide in 2011 as a college freshman, and the Jordan Porco Foundation is named in his memory. His parents turned their grief into action by creating unique programs to help fill the widening gap in the mental health care system, while addressing the major public health concern of young adult suicide.
The reality is, that with suicide rates rising across the U.S., it is everyone’s responsibility to work to prevent suicide. Suicide prevention efforts exist, persist, and extend far beyond the next big buzz, which unfortunately is usually linked with tragedy. Our conversations about mental health and suicide need to extend beyond the short lifespan of a big story or a popular movie series. The Jordan Porco Foundation is taking action in our communities and making a difference—saving lives and creating hope for the future generation.
If you need support now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or, text “HOME” to 741741 to get help 24/7 from the Crisis Text Line. If you or someone you know needs help, visit the Jordan Porco Foundation’s resources page.