Imogen Foundation to deliver mental health “first aid”

The family and friends of Imogen Roche, the local teenager who died last year, have started a fundraising campaign that aims to “save lives by empowering teenagers to support one another in times of crisis and change.” As its first effort, the group will celebrate Imogen’s birthday at an event this evening, Feb. 26, from 7 to 10 p.m., that is “one part memorial, one part fundraiser, and one part dance party.” The event is free, but a reply is required and can be made here.

This from the announcement: “Imogen Roche passed away suddenly and tragically at 15 years of age. Hundreds of teenagers mourned her passing, not only because she was taken from us too soon, but because her presence in their lives was an essential one. She was the compassionate ear on the other end of the phone. She was the empathetic friend who reached out to peers in need. She put other people’s feelings in front of her own. And she would risk her life to protect the people she loved.

Although Imogen struggled in her lifetime with depression, she hated the idea of traditional therapy. She used to say about going to a therapist, ‘I don’t want to take my emotional clothes off in front of someone who’s fully dressed.’ She did not want to discuss her problems with adults; she wanted to look to her peers for support. And she led by example. She modeled the support for her peers that she wanted for herself.”

Funds raised through GoFundMe will go to a new program that seeks to deliver mental health “first aid” to middle and high school students through workshops and training sessions during school advisory periods. The pilot will start this spring in at least one District 2 school. The goal is to scale the program to eventually help all city teens. The campaign is more than halfway to its goal of $50,000 in just five months. To donate, click here.