Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, news, and advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

Written by Rachel Papke
on January 9, 2020

The Jordan Porco Foundation is a Hartford-based organization dedicated to preventing suicide, promoting mental health, and creating a message of hope for young adults. A passion for suicide prevention is the common thread connecting the heartstrings of the foundation’s team as they work diligently every day to drive their mission. They accomplish this with engaging and uplifting peer-run programs that strive to start a conversation about mental health that reduces stigma while encouraging help-seeking and supportive behaviors.

A Fresh Approach to Mental Health Programming

Colleges and universities across the U.S. are hosting the foundation’s Fresh Check Day program, an uplifting mental health promotion event that creates an approachable atmosphere, engaging young adults in important mental health conversations. In addition, 4 What’s Next is a primary prevention program that builds psychological resilience in high school students by giving them the tools to handle stress and distress both now and in their future.

“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 Giarnella-Porco, Co-Founder and CEO of the Jordan Porco Foundation.

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 country, it is everyone’s responsibility to work to prevent suicide. The Jordan Porco Foundation's 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 foundation is taking action in our communities and making a difference—saving lives and creating hope for the future generation.

Learn more about the Jordan Porco Foundation and how you can join their mission to prevent young adult suicide at

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.

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