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Ellie’s Bus Organization Raises Suicide Awarness

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This past November, the Severna Park community lost junior Ellie Leikin to suicide. Ellie is remembered as a loving and free spirited girl, as well as a great friend. According to her family, there were no signs that she was ill to begin with. Her struggles were not able to be seen, even by those who were closest to her. This is a reason her family has created an organization to spread awareness of mental illness and suicide.

Ellie’s Bus, founded by Ellie’s parents Larry and Sherry Leikin, serves the purpose of providing teenagers with information about mental heath awareness and suicide prevention across the country. Named after Ellie’s beloved orange Volkswagen Bus, which is nicknamed The Mystery Machine, the organization’s mission is to “take the mystery out of mental health.”

Ellie’s Bus hopes to emphasize the importance of teenagers being vocal about their thoughts and feelings. At Leikin’s service, her father spoke his opinion about what parents and kids should learn from this tragedy. “Kids, love yourselves, love your parents and tell them everything. Reach out if you’re in pain. Let’s come together as a community to ensure that this tragedy does not happen ever again,” said Larry Leikin.

The organization’s website,, provides facts and statistics about suicide. Not only is suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24, but more teenagers and young adults die from suicide every year than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, and several other diseases combined. By presenting these facts, the Leikins strive to inspire kids to help themselves, and others, overcome struggles with mental health.

 “Our sole wish now is that no family has to go through what we’re going through, and that Ellie’s death has as much meaning as her life,” said Larry Leikin at his daughter’s service in December.

In an interview with the Capital Gazette, Sherry Leikin explains her thoughts on how to treat mental illness. “If you were a diabetic, you wouldn’t let your insulin continue to be unstable,” she said. Often, people will overlook how serious depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses are. But these issues should be treated with the same amount of care as a physical ailment would.

By visiting, you can learn Ellie’s story and how to contribute to the awareness of mental illness. You can also make a donation to help fund suicide prevention. Help others find help if they show signs of depression or suicide, and reach out if you feel you need help, as well. Allow Ellie’s story to change the way mental health is acted upon.



The Leikins are converting their daughter’s Volkswagen Bus into a symbol to represent “taking the mystery out of mental health,” the organization’s slogan and mission. Ellie’s Bus was founded after the suicide of junior Ellie Leikin on November 29, 2015. “Our sole wish now is that no family has to go through what we’re going through, and that Ellie’s death has as much meaning as her life,” said Larry Leikin at his daughter’s service in December. Photo Courtesy of


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Ellie’s Bus Organization Raises Suicide Awarness