OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Students across Johnson County met Saturday outside the classroom to tackle a real-life subject.
“There are zero reasons why,” the group chanted, “suicide is an option!”
Blue Valley North junior Caleb Nelson led more than a hundred students, parents and staff members of schools districts in Johnson County around the Blue Valley District Athletic Complex chanting “There are zero reasons why, you shouldn’t be yourself.”
‘Zero Reasons Why’ is a peer-to-peer story telling campaign built in June of 2018 to destroy the stigma around mental health and disrupt the preventable epidemic that is teen suicide.
“We’re finally starting something within our school in response,” Senior Bella Price said. “And we’re starting this so that we don’t lose anyone else because it is terrible to lose a friend.”
Price lost her best friend before going into her freshman year at Spring Hill High School.
“I miss my friend and I wish we had something like this when we were in middles school,” Price said.
Like Price, Weston Curnow is a Teen Council Member for Zero Reasons Why. He decided to get involved after a classmate took his own life the year Olathe West opened.
“It was really awful to start our journey as a high school on that note,” Curnow said.
The Blue Valley Superintendent says from July 2017 to Aug. 2018 Johnson County school districts lost 15 teens to suicide. Those staggering numbers and a flier for the rally caught the eye of U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids. She stopped by to show her support.
“It’s such a valuable thing to help young people and having young people helping young people break the stigma that exists around asking people for help and support,” Davids said.
As someone who deals with mental health issues, Payton Meyer believes sharing your story is key.
“If you feel alone or if you feel like you can’t keep fighting you should know that there’s other people out there,” Blue Valley Northwest High School junior Meyer says, “and no matter how hard it seems to reach out that you can.”
Price hopes to help end teen suicide and the heartbreak that follows.
“I just really hope that this campaign saves other people from that pain and that they’re able to see this and talk to their friends about it and talk to their parents about it if they’re struggling with it,” Price said.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately.
Go to a hospital, call 911 or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
Click on the boxes below for our FOX 4 You Matter reports and other helpful phone numbers and resources.