Broncos Are Asked to Get Involved in Emotional Suffering by the Chief Justice

April 20, 2018

 

Staff photo by Len Lathrop
Chief Justice Broderick

by Len Lathrop

The Steckevicz was quiet during two different meetings when John Broderick, the former Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, shared his thoughts on mental illness, how it disrupted his life. The Chief Justice talked about his family, especially his son Christian, his story about growing up with emotional suffering which finally led to the 2002 attack on his father with a guitar while the judge slept in bed, nearly killing him. First he spoke to sophomores and juniors then to freshmen and seniors. It was a great start to Unified Week, an embracing of Alvirne’s core values of Curiosity, Character, Commitment, and Community.

Judge Broderick has been visiting high schools in New Hampshire and Massachusetts talking to high school students about mental health; he has spoken at 220 schools – traveling over 45,000 miles – in an effort supported by NH Department of Education, Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospitals, and the Vermont Agency of Education to ask students to “R.E.A.C.T. to take care of yourself and take care of others.”

With the frank and open story of his family, the students listened to how Christian’s drinking through college was an effort to self-medicate his mental health problems and how it was only jail time at Valley Street and the state prison which stopped the cycle and got his son the medication he needed to become a member of society, with a wife and children.

Broderick spoke of the students he has met during these meetings, with their different stories, stressing that you can’t choose a mental health problem anymore than someone can choose their eye color. And it is OK to have a mental health issue; no one asks for it.

As the students left the Stec they received a card: on one side a visual showed the five signs 1) not feeling like u? 2) feeling agitated? 3) r u withdrawn? 4) caring 4 yourself? 5) feeling hopeless? Then go to changedirection.org and on the other side, which explains R.E.A.C.T. Take care of yourself. Take care of others. It matters. R – recognize, E – express concern and offer support, A – act now and talk to someone you trust – parent, teacher, coach, relative, friend, doctor C – care enough to follow through and follow up t – text ‘Signs” to 741-741 00r dial 603 448-4400 (24/7).

As the students were leaving several had comments. Senior Connor Lambert, when asked about his fellow Alvirne students, agreed while he did not see it in his circle of friends, he knew that there were students that seemed not to be applied and not involved. When asked are their resources at Alvirne for these students, he mentioned about five people they could go to without questions to get some direction and help.