Robbie’s Hope Foundation hosts first adult-oriented event

Parents’ night out to raise funds and awareness

Posted 4/10/19

It’s just as important for adults to be informed and aware of mental health issues that face today’s youth face as teens are. Adults, as well as teens, need to know what resources are available, …

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Robbie’s Hope Foundation hosts first adult-oriented event

Parents’ night out to raise funds and awareness

Posted

It’s just as important for adults to be informed and aware of mental health issues that face today’s youth face as teens are.

Adults, as well as teens, need to know what resources are available, how to exercise early intervention strategies, the right questions to ask and the warning signs a youth may show if he or she is facing mental health issues, said Becky Asbury of Golden, co-chair of Evening of Hope.

Adults “are a big part of the equation” for solving mental health issues among our youth, Asbury said.

To get adults more involved, Robbie’s Hope Foundation is hosting its first adult-oriented program called Evening of Hope.

It’s a fundraiser and awareness-raiser, Asbury said.

Her hope is that everyone leaves more informed on what Robbie’s Hope Foundation is doing to solve mental health issues and teen suicides, and knowing that they can make a difference.

“Our communities are becoming more aware of suicide and mental health issues,” said Kari Eckert, executive director of Robbie’s Hope Foundation. “People are ready to put effort into solving this issue.”

Robbie’s Hope Foundation is a Jeffco-based organization — 501c3 status currently pending — that exists to destigmatize mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, among teens and prevent suicidal thoughts before they occur. Its goal to cut the teen suicide rate in half by the year 2028.

Founded by Kari and Jason Eckert, the foundation got its start following the Oct. 11, 2018, death of their 15-year-old son Robbie. He was a sophomore at Lakewood High School — a student who got good grades and was actively involved with swimming, tennis and golf.

With a tagline of “It’s Okay Not to Be Okay,” the foundation empowers teens with the tools and resources they need for student-led activism.

One way it empowers teens is through the foundation’s HOPEgroups, which stands for Hold On Pain Ends.

“HOPEgroups provide them (teens) with a safe place where they can be open with one another,” Kari Eckert said. “These are teen-led conversations.”

Currently there are five HOPEgroups in the metro area — one in Golden, one in Palmer Lake and three in Denver. Golden’s group has an average attendance of about 60 youths between the ages of 13-18 that represent about 11 different middle and high schools in the west metro area, Kari Eckert said. They meet twice a month for about an hour and a half.

So far, “all the focus has been on the kids,” Kari Eckert said. Evening of Hope “is an opportunity for the parents to get involved.”

In the case that a teen confides in one of his or her friends about suicidal thoughts or another mental health issue, who can that friend go to for help, Asbury asked.

Teens don’t have the same resources — a trusted network of matured people, for example — that adults do, Asbury added.

Mental health issues is a crisis our community is facing, Asbury said.

“The more we can support organizations that are trying to understand, inform others and prevent teen suicide and mental health issues,” Asbury said, “in my opinion, the better.”

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