COLORADO SPRINGS — A mother-son duo is helping to provide more mental health resources to families across the state.
Lindsey and Bryson Kangas created the non-profit Bryson's Chase Foundation to help families with children in need of mental health care.
For years, Lindsey struggled to help her son Bryson with his mental health struggles.
"Experiencing that at a young age is very tough, and very new. All of that stress and emotion is just difficult, but I'm glad I went through that because it's made me who I am today," said Bryson.
His parents had noticed some behavioral issues when he was in grade school.
"I started noticing differences in his behavior as early as 2-years-old. He was kicked out of several daycares for aggression, I didn't know the root cause," said Lindsey.
"As a kid, I even realized my anger was uncontrollable. Everything was out of control and I didn't know what was happening to me," said Bryson. "I hated talking about my problems but once I opened up and accepted that people wanted to help me, I was a different person."
It was at Children's Colorado Pediatric Mental Health Institute that Bryson had a breakthrough, but he had to travel to a residential facility in Texas for more resources.
"It was the day that I got out of the hospital and I got her attention and I was like mom this was the best experience of my life. It was tough, but I told her about how great I felt and I want to make this known," said Bryson.
Three years later, their nonprofit is helping the same program that helped their family.
"Last Friday, we were able to hand out a check to Children's Colorado Pediatric Mental Health Institute for $32,500. That was our year of giving, and that just blows me away. With our first event, we raised $400. Now three years later, we've given over $75,000 to that program," said Lindsey.
Bryson's Chase Foundation has partnered with the hospital to help make a difference in families' lives.
"We help provide co-pays, medications, even gas cards to get kids to and from appointment," said Lindsey.
"We're continuing to see 90 percent increases in our patient volumes over 2020, and our hope is that we can get ahead of this, but they're just aren't enough outpatient services in the community to stabilize the population before they get to a crisis. Everyone is trying to work on this together, and having these donors give to Children's Hospital Colorado is going to be so huge," said Tom Caughlan, Manager of Behavioral Health at the Children's Colorado Pediatric Mental Health Institute.
Caughlan says the hospital is working to create more mental health resources as the need continues to grow.
"The biggest thing that we are doing, and that's out of the box, is our school-based program. We have health coaches and licensed clinicians that are going into the different school districts and seeing students and providing resilience-based services. What we are learning from these programs is that children are learning to identify their mental health issues before they are in crisis, they are able to communicate, and help their peers. That is pretty groundbreaking for the state of Colorado, but particularly southern Colorado," said Caughlan.
Bryson's Chase Foundation is now expanding and becoming another resource for families in the state.
"We are going to provide camps for kids. I am super excited about this because as parents when you're in the trenches, I would have given anything for my kid to go somewhere safe and get poured into," said Lindsey.
The respite retreat camps will be fully-funded weekend getaways for kids to participate in team-building exercises, hiking, zip-lining, and other activities this summer.
For those interested in helping fund the camps, Bryson's Chase Foundation is hosting its 3rd Annual Casino Night at the Cheyenne Mountain resort Valentine's Day on Feb 12. The goal is to raise over $50,000.
Mental Health Resources