Erika's Lighthouse is a very unique and powerful organization because it provides the community with a remarkable message that is positive, hopeful, and encouraging. It is an organization that promotes good mental health in a serious yet positive way. I have seen teens that are members of Erika’s Lighthouse club become so educated around such a stigmatized topic of adolescent depression that they become amazing leaders and ambassadors on this topic. I have also seen just how many hundreds and thousands of other students, staff, and educators the organization has truly touched. The organization has grown immensely and I believe it goes to show that the need is there and that teen are ready and eager to talk about and bust down the stigma surrounding depression and mental health.
Working as an Outreach Worker for Erika's Lighthouse, I have seen first hand the impact that this organization has on adolescents. One of my primary roles is co-facilitating the Red Flags program, which teaches 7th grade students about the signs and symptoms of depression. This program gives them the language they need to understand depression and how to go about finding a supportive adult. Erika's Lighthouse is usually their first introduction into the importance of learning about and maintaining good mental health. This is knowledge that these students will continue to use for years to come. This program teaches teens how to effectively educate, advocate, and bust the stigma about adolescent depression.
Erika's Lighthouse received myself and a group of colleagues to share about their vision for educating teens/parents/the public on depression. The information was relevant, presented effectively by two social workers in enlightening and empowering methods. Our visit/presentation also had the participation of an area high school senior who is exploring the field of social work - great organization!!!
I am a parish nurse at First Presbyterian Church in Evanston. I have held two programs, here at the church, and was so impressed with the information provided and the manner in which it was presented. The topic can be intimidating, but the message you receive is how to help in a way that works for teens. The presenters are great! One a mom who has raised children and has practical advice and one who was a teen not that long ago so she is on the pulse of current teen trends.
I am a social worker at Highland Park Hospital. I work with families in crisis on a DAILY basis on our Adolescent and Young Adult Behavioral Health Unit. Parents, caregivers, siblings, etc are all looking for answers....and Erika's Lighthouse has been so incredibly generous to our unit in sharing countless Parent Handbooks on Adolescent Depression. This is an indescribable resource to families looking for answers on medications, what to ask the doctors/therapists, what to tell school....it is VERY easy to read, incredibly well-organized, and hugely valuable in guiding the therapeutic process. Erika's Lighthouse remains at the top of our mental health resource list in providing tremendous support to parents, patients, and even peers! We LOVE the innovative video clips, community outreach and accessibility of this incredible organization. Thank you thank you....we hope to continue our collaborative efforts for many years to come!
As Principal of a large high school, I have worked with Erika's Lighthouse since its inception. They have provided incredible service to our students, staff, and parents, shining a light on the issues of teen depression like no other organization I have encountered. They recently trained over 400 teachers on the basics of depression and were well-received by our staff. I look forward to many more years of partnership with this great organization!
ELH has been instrumental in brining forth awareness to depression and suicide prevention to adolescents and the larger community in our area. High School student have come together to share poignant stories of hope and help for those struggling.
Erika's Lighthouse is an exceptional organization on the northshore of Chicago that is doing dynamic work in the field of mental health education and awareness. Our community has a wealth of top notch therapeutic resources, but until Erika's Lighthouse came around, no one was addressing the largest reason why people weren't getting help, STIGMA! Erika's Lighthouse educates communities about teen depression in a way that is accessible and helpful. I have seen first hand that mental health education reduces the shame, gives people a new way to talk and think about mental health and most importantly, provides hope. I would, without hesitation, recommend this organization to educate my school, place of worship, hospital or parent group on the topic of depression and good mental health.
I was researching curriculum that would be relevant, interactive and educationally appropriate for high school students. This is the second year that I have provided a lesson to our sophomore health classes. The materials that Erika’s Lighthouse provides are outstanding. I was impressed by the empirically based data that was used in the creation of the curriculum. The lesson plans are thorough and allows the students to interact and discuss depression and suicide in a safe and supportive environment. The video, Real Teen's has a significant impact on our students as well. They "see" kids who look just like them and our students immediately can relate to this. Moreover, Erika's Lighthouse is providing student's an opportunity to get involved and to do something about "getting depression out of the dark". I would highly recommend this program and curriculum to any high school.
When helping a friend who works with teenage clients I was amazed by the number of students who had signs of depression. After many discussions with Ginny Neuckranz, the founder of ELH, I realized that the major goal of this organization, to get depression out of the dark, was such a necessary force in our communities in the Chicago area. Fifteen to twenty percent of our youth suffer from depression. Many people are unfamiliar with the signs of depression and do not realize how prevalent it is and may miss the signs of depression in their own families. As a nurse I know that depression is a real and physical illness which can be successfully treated but it must first be recognized in order to be treated. That is our goal and over the last nine years we have educated a multitude of students, parents and faculty through a multi-pronged approach. We have developed study guides, parent handbooks, videos and other educational materials available at no cost. We have health care professionals who present to these groups on a consistent basis. We have fostered the development of teen clubs in our highschools to help us promote our message. As a board member I have been priviledged to work with a dedicated group of volunteers and staff who truly give so much time and effort to reducing the stigma surrounding depression. The personal rewards of working with ELH are too numerous to list. I know that we have made a difference. Linda Monico MS. RN