Serenity Stafos, Staff Writer

According to Suicide Awareness for Voices of Education every 12 minutes the United States loses someone to suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., yet remains one of the most taboo topics. However there are people on a mission to break this silence and bring awareness to this deeply rooted problem.

The #ZeroReasonsWhy Campaign,organized by Johnson County Community leaders and and school districts, aims to prevent teen suicide by spreading awareness.

Since the campaign is directed towards teens, organizers thought it would be beneficial  to have a teen council help run the operation. Two Gardner Edgerton students serve on the council, seniors Taylor Fergola and Blake Burns.

“#ZeroReasonsWhy is a group that is determined to eliminate suicide and improve mental health in the Johnson County area,” Burns said. “We have three pillars to our campaign. We want to eliminate the stigma of mental health, improve community support to mental health, and educate people about how to properly handle mental health.”

The #ZeroReasonsWhy teen council has a total of nine members. The members are all high school students in the Johnson County area. Teen council members perform various tasks for the campaign.

We have presented to many high ranking people in the school system and across Johnson County. We have met with the [school] superintendents and the leaders in Advent Health and Olathe Health facilities,” Burns said. “In teen council meetings we create ideas to benefit one of our three pillars. We also meet with others to have them share their ideas. And in return have us share ideas with them.”

#ZeroReasonsWhy wants to hear from the community, so they have created a feature on their website where you can go and share your own personal story. Gardner Edgerton senior Fiona Turner shared her story with the #ZeroReasonsWhy organization.

“I decided to share my story because I hated feeling so alone when I was struggling. I know what it felt like to think you were trapped and watching everyone live seemingly normal lives. I don’t want anyone to go on feeling alone,” Turner said.

The #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign is making strides towards making people feel more comfortable with the idea of talking about suicide and how to aid in suicide prevention. Social worker Alyce Weber is excited about all of the new involvement.

“I am extremely excited to talk about mental health and how to prevent suicide in our community… Often times someone who is suicidal cannot find the words to ask for help. The more we educate our students and staff to recognize the warning signs and how to help someone in need, the more lives we can save,” Weber said.

Want to get involved? You can share your own story at www.zeroreasonswhy.org, or join the upcoming club here at GEHS. Remember there are zero reasons why suicide would be an option. Help is here, and you can find it here in our school and community.