David Saunders introduced Patrick “PJ” Gallagher, CEO of Dominion Payroll Services, representing the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation.

Patrick was accompanied by Jodi Beland, Program Director of the foundation.

Patrick told us of after losing his niece, two and one half years ago, the Gallagher family and friends created the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation to bring people together to promote positive causes and address the issues of teenage depression and anxiety. Noting that 1 in 6 teens suffer with mental illness and only three in ten (of those) get treatment, there is a real need to promote the problem in order to Sind the solution. Patrick said that mental illness is the second leading cause of death among 14-22 year-olds. The foundation is combating this crisis with programs such as the Speak Up 5K run, that serves as a primary vehicle to drive the SpeakUp message into the community in a powerful, positive, familial and active way. The purpose of the race is for people and families to come together and “Speak Up” for positive causes, for those that are suffering and need help. They are also involved in “Minding Your Mind,” a prevention-based program and curriculum to provide and initiate conversation regarding teenage mental health issues. Another project is the “Mindful Monday” Program to provide mental health education to adolescents, teens, and young adults, as well as parents, teachers, and school administrators. Patrick discussed a case of a mid thirty’s executive having depression related suicide thoughts and compared that case to Cameron’s depression that caused her to think of herself as a burden, while not realizing how much she was loved. Patrick also pointed out some of symptoms of teenage depression including over dramatizing events, isolation, and suddenly stopping doing what they have always liked to do. Mood swings, anger, acting out, self harm, and drug or alcohol usage are other symptoms of depression. Patrick closed with the need to let those affected (teens or parents) that help is available through the foundation.