COMCARE of Sedgwick County Launches #ZeroReasonsWhy Campaign to Prevent Teen Suicide
(Sedgwick County, Kan.) – During National Suicide Prevention Month (September), COMCARE of Sedgwick County will be launching the #ZeroReasonsWhy community mobilization campaign to prevent teen suicide. This county-wide, teen-led campaign is intended to drive “peer-to-peer” conversations and pull the community together toward common strategic initiatives and tactics – geared toward removing the stigma associated with suicide and mental wellness and opening the dialogue for real change.
“This past year, perhaps more than any other, our collective mental health has been challenged and even more so for teens,” said Joan Tammany, Executive Director of COMCARE Sedgwick County. “No better time than now for school districts and the mental health center to work together to promote emotional wellness.”
Two key components of the campaign will involve a story campaign and community mobilization efforts. The #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign will kick off during the 2021-2022 academic year and be made available to all school districts in Sedgwick County. The campaign will work closely with participating school districts and influential community leaders representing mental health providers, parents, the faith community and local business community to multiply and amplify the impact of their work.
The #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign activities are gearing up to include student-led initiatives, rallies, and meet-ups; cross-district programs; social media efforts; response and street teams; parent-to-parent support; mental health expert collaboration; as well as posters, banners, yard-signs, and more.
“There are zero reasons why we cannot come together to empower teens and make a difference in their lives,” said Tammany.
Nationally, 60 percent of people personally know someone who has died by suicide. For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the second leading cause of death. Suicide rates among teens and young adults have reached their highest point in nearly two decades. For every one suicide, an estimated 25 people attempt suicide.
In 2018, after a dramatic rise in teen suicide in Johnson County, Kan., the superintendents of the six county school districts came together to discuss how to prevent additional loss in the future. They engaged community leaders, mental health professionals, nonprofit organizations, parents, students and faith groups in the discussion. They also enlisted the help of Overflow, a Kansas City-based idea adoption agency. It was determined that teen voice needed to be elevated, stories needed to be shared and the community needed to come together as a whole to see real change. The #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign has increased momentum each year since its inception and is being expanded to serve other communities in the region.
The name #ZeroReasonsWhy does not suggest there are zero reasons why a teen should struggle with mental health. Instead, there are zero reasons why we can’t equip, empower, discuss, educate, remove stigma and come together as a community to advocate for teen mental wellness.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON #ZEROREASONSWHY:
Jeff Short, #ZeroReasonsWhy Campaign Director, Overflow