Remembering Dartmouth’s Tyler Joseph Leonard [TOWNSQUARE SUNDAY]
A foundation honoring the memory of Dartmouth's Tyler Joseph Leonard and Child and Family Services are working together to help young people at risk of committing suicide.
Tyler was 30 years old, a graduate of Dartmouth High School and Bridgewater State University, when he took his own life in 2018.
His uncle Joel Baptista said Tyler's smile could light up a room, but it was amazing how much that smile could hide.
"We saw some signs and help was provided, but sometimes the pain is just too much and people can't see the light at the end of the tunnel," Baptista said. "We have a close-knit family, but we just didn't know it would come to that."
Jenelle Hickey is the coordinator of a program at Child and Family Services that assists young people at risk of suicide, giving them the help they need to hopefully move forward.
Both Baptista and Hickey joined Townsquare Sunday this week to discuss suicide in our area.
After Tyler's death, Baptista said his family decided to form a foundation to assist organizations working with young people on suicide prevention. That organization is Child and Family Services and Janelle Hickey's CBAT unit.
"We work with kids (ages) four to 17 who are in an acute mental health crisis," Hickey said. "That might mean depression, anxiety, or having suicidal thoughts and feelings."
She said youngsters in the program stay about two weeks, while personnel work on getting them to feel better.
CBAT currently has nine beds, but it will grow to 15 when the program moves to the former Regal House building on Church Street sometime after the New Year. Hickey said her program is always full, and sadly, it's not uncommon for people at risk to have to wait for placement.
The Tyler Joseph Leonard Memorial Foundation will hold a fundraiser on September 10 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Allendale Country Club in Dartmouth. It will feature music, dancing, a silent auction, and much more.
Proceeds from the event will fund a scholarship for a Dartmouth High School student and the CBAT program at Child and Family Services. For information and tickets, visit thetylerjosephleonardmemorialfoundation.org.
The Townsquare Sunday interview with Joel Baptista and Jenelle Hickey can be heard here:
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