Saving our Sons: Kellen Cares Foundation holds first-ever summit to teach importance of boys’ mental health

SPOKANE, Wash. – Parents filled a South Hill church, ready and eager to learn about how to help their sons thrive and spot the signs of their struggles. This is done through the “Helping Boys Thrive” summit, the first event put on by the Kellen Cares Foundation.

Kimber Erickson’s son, Kellen, died by suicide two years ago. Since then, the family has turned grief and pain into helping others from suffering that same tragedy.

Saturday was a bittersweet day for the family as they educated people from across Spokane while remembering why they were doing it.

“It’s to honor his name today,” said Kelly Risse, Kellen’s uncle. “Our boys as well. I think it’s just a great day, built out of, like I’ve said before, it’s greatness weaved through grief.”

Many parents and kids have reached out to the foundation, asking for help and what to do when a kid is not doing well mentally. Kimber said they wanted to put the summit together to help answer those questions by getting professionals to educate parents.

“We’re hoping that that will make a difference, too, so we can hopefully guide them to the right spot where they need to go,” Kimber said.

READ: Saving our Sons: The ‘Helping Boys Thrive’ summit

Parents filled the Summit Church on the South Hill, learning more from professionals and educators like Dr. Michael Gurian, a best-selling author and therapist in Spokane. They talked about why boys may struggle more and why their brain activity is different than girls.

While the Ericksons have learned a lot in the last two years since losing Kellen, they’re still learning as parents, just like many others.

“It’s hard to hear a lot of that stuff because I wish we had this knowledge to help Kellen. It’s always heartbreaking for us,” Kimber said.

As many learned new ways to help their kids, it meant a lot to the foundation to see everyone come out and also remember Kellen.

“I think in the struggles of parenting, it feels lonely, and with mental health issues with what they are, even in my own house that you’re not sure what to do and who’s going to help,” Risse continued. “To see the droves of people coming out today… Man, we are not alone, and hopefully, we’re in this as a village together.”

READ: Saving our Sons: Spokane family vows to help others after losing their son to suicide

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