Vinson Mortgage Charity of Choice: CHADS Coalition

In honor of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, we’re supporting CHADS (Communities Healing Adolescent Depression and Suicide) Coalition. Founded by Larry and Marian McCord in memory of their son, Chad, CHADS Coalition works to prevent youth suicide. In addition, their work reduces mental health stigma and provides necessary resources to adults and kids alike.

Suicide Prevention

In the United States, suicide is the third leading cause of death for kids age 10-19. Mental illness is the primary cause for 90% of all suicides, and most young people with mental illness aren’t getting treatment. It’s also estimated that one out of every four kids is being bullied regularly. Bullied students are up to nine times more likely to consider suicide.

CHADS Coalition Services

CHADS works with communities by providing training, support, education and resources for both kids and adults. This training helps to prevent bullying and suicide and reduce the stigma around mental illness. They offer comprehensive programs for School Outreach, Community Awareness, and Family Support.

School Outreach

CHADS Coalition provides on-site mentoring and counseling services for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and universities. These programs include mentoring, suicide prevention, bullying prevention, student ambassador training, support groups, adult training, and post-crisis intervention. They also give presentations to schools on a variety of topics related to suicide and mental illness.

CHADS Coalition

Community Awareness

CHADS’s programs for community awareness include presentations for church groups, youth groups, summer camps, and other organizations interested in mental health awareness. They also provide adults with training on how to identify and help a young person struggling with mental illness or at risk for suicide. With these tools, community members become more equipped to identify warning signs and act accordingly.

CHADS Coaltion

Family Support

CHADS also provides support for families who have a young person struggling with mental illness, thoughts of suicide, bullying, or self-injury. In addition to helping families navigate the mental health care system to get treatment, they also provide support groups, counseling services, and post-crisis intervention.

Their Work

During the 2015-2016 school year, they gave over 1,000 presentations to more than 150 schools on suicide prevention. After the presentations, a total of 2,600 students asked to speak to a counselor for help. Their bullying prevention program has been implemented in 41 schools in the St. Louis area. Those schools are reporting an average reduction of 37% for instances of bullying as a result of the CHADS Coalition program.

In October, CHADS Coalition will be hosting a Defeating Depression event at Washington University’s Mudd Field on October 1, 2016, from 12pm to 3pm. There will be guest speakers, live music, food trucks, and even a Guinness Book of World Records attempt. The price of admission is $5 and all proceeds go directly to finding CHADS Coalition mental health services and support programs.

Get Involved

If you are interested in getting involved with CHADS Coalition, there are a lot of ways to help. Their support services are generally provided free of charge, so your donations help keep the programs running. You can also become a volunteer to help plan or facilitate events. Find more information about volunteer opportunities here. If you’d like to learn more about what you can do during Suicide Prevention Month to make a difference, CHADS Coalition provides a useful list of suggestions and resources.

For more information about their work, visit chadscoalition.org, or call (314) 307-6272.