#ZeroReasonsWhy Campaign gearing up in Central Kansas The Center for Counseling & Consultation – the area’s Community Mental Health Center –
is administering the teen suicide prevention campaign across 11 school districts in 4 counties
GREAT BEND, Kan. (October 20, 2021) – The #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign to prevent teen suicide has found a new home in the communities of Central Kansas, launched this year thanks to the efforts of The Center for Counseling & Consultation, the region’s Community Mental Health Center serving Barton, Pawnee, Rice, and Stafford counties. The Center is administering the campaign with Overflow and in collaborative partnership with 11 area school districts because of the leadership of the superintendents.
“We recognize the great value in working collectively to increase awareness of and access to resources, by sharing helpful information, generating support, and fostering cooperation across public and private sectors in our community,” said Great Bend Superintendent Khris Thexton. “Nationwide, we know suicide is the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10 and 34, and for every one suicide, there are an estimated 25 attempts. We’re working together to normalize mental health, create a community continuum of care and prevention, and encourage and increase teen help-seeking behaviors.”
The teen-led storytelling and community mobilization campaign is focused on teen suicide prevention and mental health. It seeks to engage peer-to-peer conversations among key audiences of teens, parents, educators, and health professionals to reduce the stigma of mental health, build community support, and commit to education. The #ZeroReasonsWhy (#ZRW) campaign originated in 2018 by the six school district superintendents in Johnson County, Kansas, which engaged Overflow to help concept and run the campaign. Campaign activities include teen-led initiatives, rallies, and meet-ups; cross-district programs; social media efforts; response teams; parent-to-parent support; mental health expert collaboration; as well as posters, banners, yard-signs, and more. When The Center’s Executive Director Julie Kramp learned about the campaign, she and her team took steps in late 2020 to begin to bring it to Central Kansas.
“The #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign struck a chord in me with its work to empower community members to take action toward change. This is a wonderful extension of The Center’s work to organize, facilitate, and support teens, parents, educators, health providers, and other community influencers who care about this timely and important issue,” Kramp said. “The name #ZeroReasonsWhy does not suggest there are zero reasons why teens struggle with mental health. Instead, we know there are zero reasons why we cannot come together to equip, empower, discuss, educate, remove stigma, and come together as a community to advocate for teen mental wellness. Together, we can make a difference for our children.”
The Center makes available counseling resources to several participating schools and attends community events to share about the work in the local community. The Center also will facilitate regular Teen Council meetings and community mental health convenings, as well as manage social media channels and create story-focused, peer-to-peer multimedia content. Teens and adults in the region who wish to engage in the #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign can sign up here: https://thecentergb.org/zero-reasons-why/.
Thexton said he believes the work of the campaign can influence the conversation, engage the
community, and help to de-stigmatize the issue to the benefit of area teens. “We need to help our kids see the future, with them in it, and remove any barriers that block the way,” Thexton said. “We can do more.”
The Kansas Health Foundation recently awarded a $25,000 grant to help support the local #ZRW project.