In The Press

Take a look at Erika’s Lighthouse coverage in the news.

Erika’s Lighthouse on WBBM Radio

March 27, 2020

Erika’s Lighthouse Executive Director Brandon Combs was interviewed on Chicago’s WBBM Radio to address the need to support teens during this unprecedented time of school cancellations. Listen to the clip here

Erika’s Lighthouse Launches “We’re in this Together” Campaign

March 24, 2020

Erika’s Lighthouse is launching the “We’re In This Together” campaign to empower teens who feel isolated and alone during this unprecedented health crisis. It provides practical, meaningful tools to support teens through these uncertain times when many people around the world are self-isolating. These resources are available at

Webinar: Shine Light On Depression

Shine Light on Depression is a unique collaboration of organizations committed to raising awareness of depression and preventing suicide among young people. Our Director of Education, Ilana Sherman, teamed up with the American School Health Association (ASHA) and the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to promote this collaboration. 

View the webinar here.  The presentation slides may be viewed here

Erika’s Lighthouse Featured on Hubbard Helps

Every Sunday morning, 101.9fm The MIX presents special public affairs programming to address the issues and concerns facing the people of Chicago and its surrounding communities. Rather than focus on the problems we like to emphasize the solutions, so our locally-produced Hubbard Helps features conversations with Chicago-area officials, experts, and every day citizens who are working to make a difference in our communities. 

Listen to this podcast. Our Executive Director, Brandon Combs is interviewed by Susan Wiencek of Hubbard Helps.

Erika’s Lighthouse Partners with the Chicago Wolves To End The Stigma Of Teenage Depression 

Event planned at Downers Grove North High School on Wednesday, March 4 featuring Tyrell Goulbourne from the Chicago Wolves March 2, 2020 – Winnetka, Ill. – Erika’s Lighthouse, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to educating and raising awareness about adolescent depression, encouraging good mental health, and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health issues, announced today that it is partnering with the Chicago Wolves to bring awareness and support to ending the stigma of teenage depression.  On Wednesday, March 4, Erika’s Lighthouse, Chicago Wolves player Tyrell Goulbourne, Skates, the mascot of the Chicago Wolves, and the Downers Grove North High School Teen Club will be raising awareness, breaking the stigma, and spreading empathy about teenage depression.  More events with Erika’s Lighthouse, the Chicago Wolves, and other schools in the Chicago metropolitan area may be planned in the coming months.

Erika’s Lighthouse is a finalist for the 2020 Community Builder Award from the Child Mind Institute

Winner determined by online voting from February 25 through March 15

 February 25, 2020 – Winnetka, Ill. – Erika’s Lighthouse, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to educating and raising awareness about adolescent depression, encouraging good mental health, and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health issues, announced today that it is one of six finalists for the 2020 Community Builder Award from the Child Mind Institute as part of its annual Change Maker Awards.  The winner will be decided as a result of online voting which is open to the public from February 25 through March 15 at  The winner will be announced in late March and will receive the award at a ceremony hosted by NBC News veteran journalist Cynthia McFadden at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Tuesday, April 28.

Erika’s Lighthouse to Partner with the Los Angeles Unified School District at the CAHPERD Conference 

February 17, 2020

The California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance will hold the conference between Thursday, February 20 and Saturday, February 22 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Garden Grove, CA. Staff from Erika’s Lighthouse will be at booth 305 and can discuss its free depression education programs.

Teen depression program aims to reach students

Suffolk News-Herald, December 11, 2019

“In an effort to help middle and high school students deal with issues related to teen depression, the Sarah Michelle Peterson Foundation has been training school staff to help them recognize the signs in an effort to prevent suicide.” Read about how Erika’s Lighthouse programs are being spread into Virginia schools.

Shining Bright

Sheridan Road Magazine, September 1, 2019

“Out of darkness, a beacon.” When Ginny Neuckranz and husband Tom lost their teenage daughter, Erika, to suicide, they made it their mission to turn her suffering and their grief into hope for other families. It was in her name and spirit they founded Erika’s Lighthouse, a nonprofit based in Winnetka targeted at mental health awareness and education for teens.

NBA’s Kyle Anderson returns for depression awareness fundraiser

Hudson Reporter, August 8, 2019

On Aug. 11 and 12, Anderson hosted a Celebrate Life Day basketball tournament and clinic. He began running the clinic and tournament a few years ago in the wake of a personal tragedy.

Deaths focus attention on suicide prevention

On Board, April 8, 2019

Recognizing the growing problem of depression in teens, New York state has mandated, since July 2018, that schools provide mental health education as part of the health curriculum. 

15 years later, Erika’s Lighthouse continues to teach teens about depression in memory of daughter

Chicago Tribune, March 29, 2019

As a longtime PE and health teacher at Carleton Washburne School in Winnetka, Victor Cooper said he is vigilant about spotting possible signs of depression in his students.

Healthy Mind: Erika’s Lighthouse

Healthy Living, March 28, 2019

In 2004, Tom and Ginny Neuckranz, of Winnetka, Illinois, lost their 14-year-old daughter, Erika, to adolescent depression, a mental disorder that not many people were educated about at the time.

Erika’s Lighthouse: A Beacon of Hope for Adolescent Depression Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary

Make It Better, March 20, 2019

In 2004, Tom and Ginny Neuckranz, of Winnetka, Illinois, lost their 14-year-old daughter, Erika, to adolescent depression — a mental disorder that not many people were educated about at the time. “Within several weeks, with many friends helping, including friends of Erika, we decided to start an education program and put it in the schools if we could, and we have done that, to teach children about depression and de-stigmatize it,” says Tom Neuckranz.

Erika’s Lighthouse Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary Gala

March 4, 2019

Erika’s Lighthouse, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to announced today that it will be holding a celebratory event to celebrate its 15th Anniversary on Saturday, May 18 at 7 p.m.

Midday Fix: Depression education – expert advice on how to help teens and kids recognize the signs

WGN Midday News, August 15, 2018

Ginny and Tom Neuckranz, Co-founders and Board Members of Erika’s Lighthouse and Heather Freed, the executive director of Erika’s Lighthouse, visited WGN’s studios to talk about the importance of depression education in schools.

Erika’s Lighthouse Helps Hope Grow

By Libby Elliott, The North Shore Weekend, April 28, 2018

Heather Freed always knows what to expect at the office in the days following a local or national tragedy involving teenagers.

“We see an uptick in people reaching out to us,” said Freed, executive director of Erika’s Lighthouse, the Winnetka-based non-profit founded nearly 15 years ago to educate school communities about teen depression. “It’s typically teachers, education administrators or kids wanting to start a discussion about the issue of depression in their school. Unfortunately, tragedy is sometimes the trigger that motivates them.”

Everyday Athlete: Kathleen Hooper

By Mark Buciak, Chicago Athlete Magazine, May/June 2018

Erika’s Lighthouse is celebrating its 5th year as an official charity team of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Chicago Athlete features team member Kathleen Hooper’s experience running with the team. Go Team Erika’s Lighthouse!

Getting Depression Out of the Dark

By Alice York, Sheridan Road Magazine, April 1, 2018

What began as a parent’s response to a daughter’s tragic battle with depression has blossomed into Erika’s Lighthouse, a Winnetka-based organization armed with a passion to empower young people and those around them with the knowledge and skills needed to understand and cope with depression. Its annual gala, on Saturday, May 12, is what helps make it all possible.

Discussing “The Mental Health Issue” After Parkland

By Julia Delacroix, Teaching Tolerance, February 26, 2018

“When talking with students about mass shootings, you can’t avoid addressing mental health. This TT staffer offers recommendations for ways you can talk about mental health with your students—without adding to the stigma already in place.”  Erika’s Lighthouse is mentioned as a resource for schools to use to support students who might be struggling.

Bremen High School Teams up with Erika’s Lighthouse to Discuss Teen Depression

By Bremen District 228, Patch Contributor, Oak Forest Patch, September 26, 2017 

Bremen High School Social Workers, in conjunction with P.E. teachers, have teamed up for a two-day presentation in all BHS freshmen Heath classes entitled, “Teen Depression: Stories of Hope & Health.” This marks the third year of District 228’s collaboration with Erika’s Lighthouse, a non-profit organization focused on depression awareness and suicide prevention.

Kyle Anderson to host third annual ‘Celebrate Life Day’

By Cody McCrary,, August 10, 2017

On Aug. 12, Kyle Anderson of the San Antonio Spurs will host the third annual Celebrate Life Day in his home state of New Jersey.

Anderson started Celebrate Life Day in 2015 after a close friend of Anderson’s, Paul Kim, died by suicide in 2014 during Anderson’s rookie season in San Antonio.

Proceeds from Celebrate Life Day will benefit Erika’s Lighthouse, an Illinois-based group that educates communities about teen depression, and a scholarship in Paul Kim’s name at his alma mater, Cliffside Park High School.

Some Schools Warn Families about Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why”

By Vince Gerasole, CBS News, April 24, 2017

Read and watch the news story in which Executive Director Heather Freed addresses the many questions on how to talk about “13 Reasons Why.”

Lighting The Way

By Kemmie Orquiz, Sheridan Road, April 11, 2017

“What began as a parent’s response to a tragic outcome of teenage depression has grown into a nationwide campaign to “Get Depression Out of the Dark.” Erika’s Lighthouse (ELH) continues to open up conversation and destigmatize depression, while providing knowledge and skills that families and teens can use to cope during trying times.”

GBN Holds Fundraiser to Raise Awareness of Youth Depression, Suicide Prevention 

By Karie Angell Luc, The Northbrook Star, June 29, 2016

“The annual GBN Fundraiser Tournament at Techny Prairie Park & Fields in Northbrook drew an estimated 250 people on June 26 to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention among youth. In its fourth year, the event raised $1,600 to benefit Erika’s Lighthouse of Winnetka and TotalLink2 Community of Northbrook.”

For Teens in Crisis, Texting Provides an Outlet for Assistance

By Lauren Zumbach, Chicago Tribune reporter, October 23, 2013

“Picking up the phone can be tough for teens in crisis. A new hotline aims to make it easier by letting them seek help through their preferred mode of communication: texting.”

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