Group offers support for mothers after Highlands Ranch tragedies

Highlands Ranch group offers mental health support
Posted at 9:12 PM, Jun 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-08 23:12:41-04

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — It was something people didn’t think happened in Highlands Ranch. But it happened to the Laber family in November, 2016. Mom Jennifer, who had battled depression, shot and killed her two sons Adam and Ethan, and herself.

Two months later, another mom and daughter were found dead in a Highlands Ranch Home.

The community was shocked, but Nikki Brooker saw a bigger problem. Brooker has kids who attended at the same school as the Laber boys.

"Highlands Ranch is a great place to live, but it’s also daunting," says Brooker. "It’s very hard to be a mom here. Sometimes you don’t feel like you fit in, or you don’t wear the right clothes, or drive the right car or whatever."

After the tragedies hit her community Brooker posted a message on a Highlands Ranch Facebook group. She realized there were many moms who wanted help, and many who wanted to help others. In just a short time, that led to a support group called "YANA M2M." It stands for "you are not alone, mom to mom."

It's a support group for moms to talk about their daily struggles with parenting, emotional health, or anything at all. The group hosts regular meetings for moms, and moms are matched with a a support mom, sort of like a sponsor.

"I want it to be whatever the moms need at that time," says Brooker. "If we want to sit in a circle and talk about issues we’re having, great. If it’s just let the kids play and hang out that’s okay too."

Burn Boot Camp Highlands Ranch donated space for YANA to hold meetings. Burn owner Deena Hudson  says YANA's mission resonated with her.

"I struggled with some postpartum depression, and I struggled to feel confident in myself and in the corporate world and as a mother and I think we all struggle with it in some aspect," says Hudson.

For mothers with more serious mental health conditions, like Jennifer Laber who had battled depression, YANA is ready to refer them to resources. In May a new campaign, Let's Talk Colorado, was launched to provided support and resources to people dealing with mental health issues.