Executive Director, Ganley Foundation
Since 2009, Gables resident Grace “Gracie” Carricarte has run the Ganley Foundation, a South Florida non-profit dedicated to promoting mental health education for the prevention of suicide by high school and college students. As the executive director, Carricarte makes educational presentations to teachers, parents, students, crisis intervention teams, law enforcement personnel and volunteer organizations. Previously she was a youth counselor for low-income families. She has a graduate degree from UM in mental health counseling and is certified in school suicide prevention by the American Association of Suicidology. She lives near St. Teresa school, which her father, philanthropist Michael Carricarte, attended as a child.
Carricarte has just come off the fall school season, during which she makes 5 to 12 presentations weekly to help communities understand why and how suicide is preventable. The Ganley Foundation recently received a grant from the Coral Gables Community Foundation to continue their work.
WHAT SHE SAYS
Carricarte is determined to reduce the stigma of talking about teenage suicide, and helping potential victims, their parents and their educators understand that it is caused by undiagnosed mental illnesses, such as depression. “I don’t like the expression ‘commit suicide,’ because that implies an act of choice to do something bad. We don’t believe any biological illness is necessarily an act of choice. People die by suicide, like they die by cancer.”
One of Carricarte’s missions is to encourage students to reach out for help. “There is nothing worse than feeling alone and that there is no ‘out’ for one’s pain… But the courage it takes to reach out and say, ‘I’m not okay,’ is enormous.”