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Basketball Becomes A Place To Talk Mental Health

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4)- Two big basketball games between Arvada West and Ralston Valley Wednesday night became a platform for something entirely different; a conversation about mental health and suicide. Robbie's Hope was there to bring up new conversations around difficult topics.

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(credit: CBS)

"Some people may not show that they're hurting, but it's really important to know that everybody has their own, problems," said Ainsley Kelver, a Ralston Valley student who is also an ambassador for Robbie's Hope.

The foundation has been pushing hard to normalize talk about mental health and the stresses of teen years.

"So many young people are struggling with something not feeling good about themselves and they're keeping it to themselves," said Kari Eckert, executive director of the organization.

As Robbie's Hope tries to push for more frank conversation, high school students at the boys' and girls' varsity games paid attention.

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"A lot of people are facing things that they don't present all the time. And I think our generation has gotten really good at hiding things, unfortunately," said Madison Morgan, a sophomore at Arvada West and one of the organizers.

Students handed out information and talked about the issues involved with teen mental health and suicide.

"I hope that we can spread the information about Robbie's Hope and make sure that people know it's OK to not be OK," said student volunteer Ella Jackson.

"The majority of kids, they just need a conversation; a heart to heart. They need to be heard," said Eckert.

The organization is named for her son Robbie who took his own life. The Eckert family started the non-profit to help young people connect, but has also come to advocate for the cause of mental health treatment. Gov. Jared Polis talked about mental health care in his State of the State Address, but the help is late stage says Eckert.

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(credit: Kari Eckert)

"I think it's falling short. I think we can do better. Because the governor with his initiatives and with the funding from the state is trying to catch kids at the very end of the cliff - the kids that are saying yes, I need help, I am considering suicide."

She hopes to help create conversation often and early.

"We need to be sitting at our kitchen tables talking about mental health. Every single family. Don't be naive that it couldn't be your child because it could be your child."

LINK: Robbie's Hope

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