Francesco’s Foundation has been created to help prevent teenage suicide through providing financial support for education in schools, where the focus will be on prevention of all types of bullying including and in particular that of the LGBTQIA+ community, education about the risks of teenagers engaging in dangerous activities on-line, education about the risks of leaving fire-arms unsecured with teenagers in the house – all of which contribute to heightening risks of teenage suicide.
Seventeen-year-old Francesco took his life with an unsecured shotgun at 2.00 am on October 21st, 2021 on a warm October evening on a moonlit beach in the Hamptons. He was discovered by the police after a call from a school friend. He had to be identified by his dentist – so devastating is the destruction from a shotgun suicide. No parent should ever have to live with that image.
The aftermath of his death has devastated his two mothers, who lived apart, family and friends from Winchester College in the UK and his latest school, The Stony Brook Prep School. Some close young friends have had mental breakdowns and were unable to return to their studies-all these lives will be severely affected forever-such was the love that they all had for Francesco. For his parents the grief is unimaginable and a life sentence.
Prior to Francesco’s unexpected death he had a very exciting future ahead of him. For a seventeen-year-old boy he had already accomplished a lot-gaining entry to Winchester College in the UK, amongst the top high schools in the world, he had played the violin at both Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center, was an accomplished sailor, very popular with students and teachers alike. He had a great sense of humor and a zest for life. He was an honors and straight A student and had gained an SAT score in the top 99th percentile. He was very excited about an interview at Amherst, only two days after he took his life. He had no history of depression, drug or alcohol use.
Francesco was open about his sexuality & had confided in everyone but his family. First with his girlfriend in Ireland, then more recently with his boyfriend & with all his school friends in the UK & USA. His only mistake had been in divulging his questioning sexuality to school friends in the USA & the last few weeks of his life was the target of spiteful, malicious lies, gay slurs and ridicule due to his sexual orientation. One night he was unable to take any more and he had a very uncharacteristic night of recklessness and although he had not set out to end his life that night he did.
Francesco’s Foundation has been set up by Francesco’s mother, Diana and her partner, Jennifer to honor the memory of Francesco and to help reduce the terrible risk of teenage suicide by providing financial help for charities investing in the education of teenage mental health.
A major new report from the CDC published in February 2023 shows that there has been a huge increase in teenage suicide, especially amongst girls and the LGBTQ community. The report shows that one in four teenagers identifying as lesbian, bisexual or gay attempted suicide in the first half of 2021. Nearly 50% of teenagers identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual seriously considered suicide in the same time frame. One in three teenage girls reported seriously considering suicide.
Gun violence is now the leading cause of death in children 0-19 years in the United States. Nearly half of those gun deaths are by suicide. The foundation aims to work towards introducing legislation regarding the safe storage of sporting shotguns – those that are not intended for self-defense but for sport, and therefore not protected by the second amendment. This legislation would pertain particularly when there are minors in the same house a shotgun is stored.
Gaming sites like Discord rank amongst the top five apps or platforms for content flagged by its algorithms for severe violence, bullying, sexual content and suicide ideation. Most parents have no idea their children are engaging in such dangerous activities.
Diana Cochran and her partner, Jennifer Allsop are working tirelessly to make changes at schools to protect the mental health of teenagers and help prevent more unnecessary teenage suicides. They are working to make significant changes to the country with the help of Board members.
Their efforts echo the social issues raised by the president in his 2023 State of The Union Address where President Biden said, “Let’s do more on mental health, especially for our children. When millions of young people are struggling with bullying, violence and trauma we owe them greater access to mental health care at school.”
The foundation has set the date for an inaugural fundraiser this September 2023 in partnership with AspenOut.
About Francesco’s Foundation:
Francesco’s Foundation’s is a 501c(3) registered charity whose mission is to promote hope and prevent teen suicide. The Organization has a holistic vision for how to achieve this goal and provide grants to a range of organizations and individuals. Francesco’s Foundation partner with organizations that work to end online and offline bullying of LGBTQ teens, increase access to mental health and other supportive services, promote awareness of best practices for firearm storage, and more. In addition, the Charity also provide grants for supportive services and college tuition.
PRESS CONTACT (Francesco’s Foundation):
Norah Lawlor | Lawlor Media Group | www.lawlormediagroup.com
Norah@lawlormediagroup.com | Tel: (212) 967-6900
I: lawlormedia | F: LawlorMediaGroup | T: @LawlorMedia
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