Event brings awareness to teen mental health and suicide
September 26, 2022
Providing a message - The leaders of Robbie’s Hope, pictured left to right, Dani Montgomery (9), Ava Solberg (10), Nora Flickinger (11), Annaliece Emigh (11), Shelby Denton (10), and Elise Menzel (11) kick off the Save a Life Walk.
Robbie’s Hope, a teen mental health organization, hosted the Save A Life Walk this past Thursday, September 22, at Asa Bales Park.
Robbie’s Hope is an organization that was started after teen Robbie Eckert committed suicide. His parents were devastated, and they demanded something change so that no parent should have to experience what they went through.
This year, Robbie’s Hope added brand new aspects to the walk, including two guest speakers, Patrick Schram (12) and alumnus Chandler Williams, as well as tables with interactive activities and souvenirs.
The first person to speak, Schramm, talked about his struggle with mental health and how his friends supported him. He had been struggling for months, he said, and his emotions were building up to what led to a breaking point one night.
“Shoutout to Cole Ballard and Dillon Thieneman for being there at that party because we talked for two hours just about everything I was going through,” Schramm said.
Mr. Jake Gilbert, Dean of Wellness and WHS teacher, started a support group for the football team after people like Schramm spoke up about their struggle with mental health. He led a discussion before the walk as well.
“It’s your responsibility to go out and make sure you have those caring adults in your life and peer relationships so that you do have someone to go to,” Mr. Gilbert said. “I’m grateful for Patrick speaking today, but I’m [also] grateful that Cole and Dillon were there so that we have Patrick speaking here today.”
Alumni of Westfield High School Chandler Williams, now a junior at Ball State, talked about a friend she had lost to suicide. She lost him when he was just fifteen years old.
“I’m 20 now; I’m past my teenage years. I feel like I’m growing up. I feel awful that he never experienced graduating and applying for colleges,” Williams said.
The cause of suicide and its shocking numbers, with suicide being the second leading cause of death for teens, is, as Mr. Gilbert put it: loneliness.
“If the #1 cause is loneliness, above all, care and be there for each other,” Mr. Gilbert said. “Here at Westfield, we are people who care— so let’s start with that.”
Slideshow - Photo 1: Patrick Schramm (12) shares his struggle with his mental health and emotions.
Photo 2: Alumnus Chandler Williams shares her “why” for being a part of Robbie’s Hope.
Photo 3: Mr. Gilbert talks about teen suicide and what we can do to help.
Photo 4: The first table at the walk hands out glow sticks, each color representing different reasons for being there.
Photo 5: Another table passes out souvenirs and pamphlets about Robbie’s Hope.
Photo 6: A table hands out raffles and tattoos for a fun opportunity to win prizes.
Photo 7:The eventful night comes to an end at Asa Bales as the sun sets.