Michigan nonprofit aims to bring awareness to mental health issues in kids

“If we can do a little part in improving the landscape of mental health services for kids, then we want to be part of it."
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 10:48 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2022 at 12:04 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - There was a party in Meridian Township for a serious cause Thursday.

There was music, rock climbing, animals and more, but there was a very important message behind the fun.

Ali Fleetwood always loved Eli’s wild side. Any time she spent with her big brother was adventure time.

“He wants people to be a daredevil and he wants people to go out and go fishing,” Ali said. “He put a snapping turtle in his bathtub and had it for two weeks.”

But behind that zest for adventure, Eli was hurting.

“Unfortunately we lost Eli to suicide in June and decided to do something in his honor,” said Zach Goldstein.

But his legacy doesn’t end there. It’s only getting started.

“The landscape of mental health right now, I think people are kind of ready to start talking about it,” Goldstein said. “I think it’s a huge need and I think there’s a lot of teenagers and children struggling out there with mental health.”

In July, Eli’s Project was created. A nonprofit dedicated in his honor that is bringing awareness to mental health issues in teenagers.

“If we can do a little part in improving the landscape of mental health services for kids, then we want to be part of it,” Goldstein said.

A big focus of the foundation is talking about and marketing the new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline to teens and their families.

“We’re printing it on all of our material,” Goldstein said. “We’ve probably handed it out to probably a thousand teenagers and families.”

The event Thursday night was about bringing people together to talk about it and to remember a life so full of adventure.

“I know Eli, if he were here today he would love this,” Ali said. “Especially with all the alligators.”

More information on Eli’s Project can be found on its official website or its official Facebook page here.

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