LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– One family is hoping to spread the message of hope in the wake of the loss of one of their own. Robbie Eckert was just 16 years old when he took his own life.
Kari Eckert says she never knew her son Robbie was struggling. The teen was an athlete, had many friends, and got good grades at Lakewood High School.
Despite his gift of bringing love and joy to others, Robbie was suffering in the darkness, battling privately with incredible pain. He succumbed to the silent illness of depression and took his own life on Oct. 11, 2018.
“No parent should sit and do what we’re doing, burying a child. It shouldn’t happen,” she told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.
They decided to create Robbie’s Hope Foundation, established to remove the stigma surrounding teen depression and teen suicide. The foundation is focused on providing the tools and resources to enable Student Lead Activism through small group meetings, targeted financial support to highly efficient and effective organizations that specialize in providing therapy to teens, and by integrating mental health into a mandated Health Education curriculum in K-12 schools.
The organization is about to kick off what they’re calling a Hopeful Drive. Students from not only Lakewood High School, but over 20 other schools are involved.
“I think it’s opened a lot of doors for a lot of kids and we have a lot of people involved,” said Nina Birdsey, a student at Lakewood High School.
Thursday night she and other teens spent the evening decorating buckets for the drive. From Jan. 21- Feb. 10 they’ll spread out around the Denver metro area spreading Robbie’s story. While donations are welcome, they’re hoping to give more than they get.
“The purpose of the fundraising isn’t to raise money, but raise awareness for mental health and teen suicide to get the conversation started,” Birdsey told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.
SUICIDE HOTLINE: 1.844.493.8255 or text TALK to 38255