(CBS4) – Now that teens aren’t in school and may not have access to help through counselors or peers, a Colorado nonprofit called Robbie’s Hope is working to spread awareness of mental health during a time that can be isolating.
“Our mission is to empower teens with the tools and resources they need to destigmatize teen depression and anxiety, preventing suicide,” explained Kari Eckert, the Executive Director of Robbie’s Hope and Robbie’s mom.
Robbie’s Hope was created as a way for teens to support teens, after 15-year-old Robbie Eckert took his own life. Now his friends and family are on a mission to help our community’s youth.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, school is no longer in session and sports have been canceled. The social isolation is concerning to the nonprofit.
“Isolation is a really big factor for depression,” Eckert said. “We don’t know how long this is going to go on for, so we need to be there for one another.”
Robbie’s Hope helps teenagers from high schools around the Denver metro area. Charlie Gordon is a senior at Lakewood High School and said the pandemic has changed a lot.
“My track season got canceled and I’ve been running a lot, and that kind of has really kept me going. I feel like I still have like a purpose,” Gordon said. “You just need to find something you enjoy to help with the social distancing.”
Gordon said he and his friends are using FaceTime a lot to check in with one another, and make sure everyone is feeling okay.
“We can stay connected and you don’t have to accept the fact that because you’re stuck in your house, you are stuck with nothing to do, and no one to talk to,” he said.
“We’re trying to stay in touch with teens that we know, checking in on them,” Eckert said. “And social media, sending encouraging messages. That’s the kind of things we are trying to work on.”
Eckert said that while kids are stuck at home, parents should be looking out for any behavioral changes over the next few weeks.
“Sometimes we just need to listen,” she said. “And ask them what’s going on or if they’re okay.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling with social isolation, you can call the Crisis Line at 1-844-492-TALK. Students can also submit any peer concerns to Safe2Tell.
For more information about Robbie’s Hope, you can visit robbies-hope.com