School Leaders Join Forces To Halt Teen Suicide


During this National Suicide Prevention Week (September 9th to September 15th) , USD 231, led by Superintendent Pam Stranathan, is joining five other Johnson County school districts to launch the #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign to prevent teen suicide and empower community members to take action toward change.

(JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS) September 13, 2018 – During this National Suicide Prevention Week (September 9-15) and National Suicide Prevention Month (September), the six School Districts in Johnson County, Kansas are joining together to launch the #ZeroReasonsWhy ​community mobilization campaign to prevent teen suicide. Focused on empowering community members to take action toward change, the campaign will organize, facilitate and support students, parents, educators, health providers, and other stakeholders in implementing action plans, programs, events, and outreach efforts – as there are zero reasons why we cannot come together to make a difference on this community issue.

“We feel strongly that by mobilizing necessary resources, disseminating information, generating support, and fostering cooperation across public and private sectors in the community, we can influence the conversation and de-stigmatize the issue,” said Gardner Edgerton Superintendent Pam Stranathan. “Attempted suicides have increased, and teen death by suicide​ has ​nearly doubled in Johnson County in the first six months of 2018.

In June, the superintendents of Johnson County initiated a deeper dialogue and identified collaboration opportunities. The #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign is intended to mobilize the community around this preventable epidemic. The campaign’s website and logo were unveiled this week at ​​.
“We envision #ZeroReasonsWhy as the intense and passionate engagement of the community,” said Blue Valley Superintendent Todd White. “We must help students see the future, and remove any barriers that stand in the way.”

Two key efforts of the campaign will involve a story campaign and community mobilization team. The #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign will take place during the 2018-2019 academic year, and it is supported by the Johnson County School Districts of Blue Valley, De Soto, Gardner Edgerton, Olathe, Shawnee Mission and Spring Hill. The campaign will work closely with influential leaders representing mental health providers, parents, the faith community and local business community to multiply and amplify the impact of their work.

“If we work together as a community, we can change this narrative. There should be zero reasons why we can’t make a difference and change this conversation for the social well-being of our children,” said De Soto Superintendent, Frank Harwood.

Led by student ambassadors, parent volunteers, teacher advocates, health experts and non-profit leaders, 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 billboards, posters, banners, yard-signs, and more.

“Our collective efforts will allow us to strengthen the system of care and support for our children in Johnson County,” said Olathe Public Schools Superintendent John Allison.

Participating Districts are:
Todd White, Blue Valley Schools Superintendent
Frank Harwood, USD 232 – De Soto Superintendent
Pam Stranathan, Gardner Edgerton School District Superintendent
John Allison, Olathe Public Schools Superintendent
Kenny Southwick, Shawnee Mission School District Deputy Superintendent
Mike Fulton, Shawnee Mission School District Superintendent
Wayne Burke, Spring Hill School District Superintendent

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Steff Hedenkamp, Public Affairs Director, Overflow (816) 506-4630 and ​
#ZeroReasonsWhy Campaign Launched by Johnson County School Districts & Community Leaders to Prevent Teen Suicide