In high school, Chad McCord was an Eagle Scout, a church youth group retreat leader, a gifted athlete and student. He was also diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder. His mental health struggles ultimately led him to taking his own life, leaving his parents devastated. Because Chad had wanted to make a difference in people’s lives by shining a light on mental illness, his mother, Marian McCord, vowed to be his voice. In 2004, Marian transitioned her career as a pediatric nurse from saving lives in the hospital, to saving lives in the community. In honor of Chad’s remarkable life and legacy, she founded CHADS Coalition for Mental Health to rescue young lives by advancing awareness and prevention of depression and suicide.
Today, CHADS offers clinical counseling for students struggling with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, one on one social and emotional mentoring and evidence based suicide prevention presentations. In 2019, CHADS presented to 57,872 students – 7,311 of whom felt compelled to ask for help. The non-profit has outreach programs in 183 schools, with core platforms in place to help save lives. Because suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth aged 10-24, it is critical to provide young people with the tools they need to ask for help before it is too late. Under Marian’s guidance, CHADS has grown an average of 20% each year, and serves as a reminder of the enduring power of familial love.
I am so honored to be recognized as a L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Honoree. It brings me great joy to have adolescent mental health spotlighted in such a positive manner.