Mission: Erika's Lighthouse is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating and raising awareness about adolescent depression, encouraging good mental health, and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Results: With a modest start just over ten years ago, Erika’s Lighthouse has gone from educating roughly 1,500 students, parents and school professionals in 2004 to touching the lives of 42,425 individuals in 37 communities and 60 schools across the country in 2014. In the last two years alone, Erika’s Lighthouse has extended its impact over 300% through the expansion of turn-key programming, online resources and social media efforts.
Target demographics: Adolescents & Middle/High School Communities
Direct beneficiaries per year: 42,425
Geographic areas served: Depression Awareness, Stigma Reduction, Mental Health Empowerment & Suicide Prevention
Programs: Erika’s Lighthouse addresses the challenges surrounding teen depression using the most impactful, innovative and accessible methods available today. Interactive web-based resources, multi-media classroom teaching tools and teen-to-teen interventions make Erika’s Lighthouse a trail blazer for mental health education in the Chicago area and beyond. Programs and services are always free and resources are easy and accessible on the website.
I have witnessed the tremendous change Erika's Lighthouse has brought to a community over the last ten years. The educational programs offered have had a great impact on so many lives. Reducing the stigma surrounding depression so teens can get the help they need, and proceed with productive lives is the core of the organization's message. Programs offered for educators can be easily integrated into various curriculums and school cultures. There are videos featuring real teens speaking candidly about mental health and important skills needed to help themselves or a friend and let their parents know what they may be feeling. The Parent Handbook gives families much needed support and is full of valuable information. The website has lots of information about programs offered - www.erika's lighthouse.org
I have been involved with ELH for the past 5-6 years and it's been amazing to watch the impact the organization has had on the communities in the Chicago suburbs. In a relatively short time Erika's Lighthouse has provided area schools with the tools with which to educate students, faculty and parents about the signs and symptoms of adolescent depression. The best part is that the students in the ELH clubs (at quite a few schools now, and growing!) are the ones sharing this information with their peers and opening up dialogue that wouldn't have taken place just a few years ago.