By Dominic Garcia

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– A year after their first HOPEfull Drive, Robbie’s Hope is showing no signs of slowing down. For the second year in a row, middle and high school students across the Denver metro area will be out on the streets, and in their schools, focusing on fostering dialogue with the public to de-stigmatize teen mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and suicide.

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Sponsored by Robbie’s Hope Foundation, the HOPEfull Drive will take place from Jan. 21 to Feb. 16 to raise awareness and to bolster the need for increased mental health resources in our communities.

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Robbie’s Hope is named after Robbie Eckert, who just 16 years old when he took his own life. His mother, Kari Eckert says she never knew her son Robbie was struggling.

Robbie Eckert (credit: CBS)

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.

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His family 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.

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“We hope that by fostering dialogue to destigmatize mental health issues, we can help provide a path towards teaching our community how to start a discussion and save a life,” said Kari Eckert, Executive Director of Robbie’s Hope.

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During the HOPEfull Drive, students will share their perspectives with the community and have buckets for donations to benefit Robbie’s Hope Foundation and its teen-based programs.

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Two teams of students will be on the 16th St. Mall on Saturday, Jan. 25 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. speaking with the public.

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One of the students who will be among them is Kyla Davidson, a Lakewood High School student. She heard about Robbie’s Hope at school and on social media and wanted to get involved.

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“It was a community where no matter who you were in the school, like what friend group you belonged to, everyone came together. It was really just a place to talk about how you’re feeling,” she told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.

Robbie’s Hope has now expanded to eight states.

LINK: Robbie’s Hope Foundation | Robbie’s Hope Facebook Page

More resources:
Safe2Tell
An anonymous way for students, parents, school staff and community members to report concerns regarding their safety or the safety of others
safe2tell.org
1-877-542-7233

The Trevor Project
Crisis prevention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth
thetrevorproject.org
1-866-488-7386

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
1-800-273-8255

Mobile Crisis Services, Denver Health
24/7 service that provides mental health support to residents of the city and county of Denver and to Mental Health Center of Denver consumers during and after a crisis
https://www.denverhealth.org/services/emergency-medicine/psychiatric 

Dominic Garcia

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