Best Life: Robbie’s Hope

Published: May. 29, 2023 at 7:27 AM CDT
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SALT LAKE CITY, UT (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people 15 to 24 years old.

You may think “Not my child,” but nearly 20% of all high school students say they’ve seriously thought about it. More than 10% have attempted to take their own lives. One mother who lost her son to suicide is now behind a nationwide movement focusing on cutting teen suicide rates in half in the next five years.

“Robbie had an amazing smile. He was the light in the room. As his mom, I did not know that he was struggling. I was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom for 12 years. I think I had a pretty good pulse on who Robbie was,” said Kari Eckert, who lost her son to suicide.

As an athlete, honor student and all-around good kid, Robbie Eckert was 15 when he died. Robbie’s death became a turning point for his mother Kari. She started connecting with teens.

“I actually lost a friend of mine. She died by suicide in eighth grade. You just get more tired, and those thoughts just keep pushing you down,” said Ashlyn Sorenski and Paula Mirazemin, teen ambassadors at Robbie’s Hope.

They are part of three thousand student ambassadors nationwide at Robbie’s Hope. A charity Kari started that focuses on teens helping teens.

“One of the hardest things anyone can do is ask for help. Find the person that’s sitting by themselves at lunch and check in on them and be that person for them,” said Ashlyn.

Robbie’s Hope gives schools and kids free resources, tools, and the knowledge to help their peers.

“If you are worried about one of your friends hurting themselves, you have to get an adult involved, it’s too much to handle on your own,” says Kari.

Robbie’s Hope also works to help parents connect with their own children. After hundreds of hours of talking with teens, Kari created a parent’s guide by teens on how to talk to teens.

“To some adults, I’m very fear-producing because if a child like Robbie can die by suicide, maybe their child could too. I think my best takeaway from that handbook is that we have two ears and one mouth. When you’re sitting with a young person and they’re trying to have a meaningful conversation with you, one of the best things you can do is listen. Especially when it’s your own child, I wish I would’ve asked Robbie if he was really okay and if how he looked on the outside is how he felt on the inside. That’s one of my regrets,” said Kari.

Robbie’s Hope teaches kids how to identify when things are getting hard for them and how to manage those emotions. Most importantly, they try to teach hope. Robbie’s Hope is now active in every single state.

You can find free information, resources, and guides for teens and parents at

If you know someone who is struggling or if you yourself are having suicidal or depressed thoughts, you can call or text 988, 24 hours a day.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.

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