USD 230 Teams Up to Address Suicide

USD 230 Teams Up to Address Suicide
Posted on 08/02/2018
SCHOOL DISTRICT AND COMMUNITY LEADERS TEAM UP TO ADDRESS SUICIDE

(JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS) August 1, 2018 – Six Johnson County school districts are joining forces to address the growing number of teen deaths by suicide. The convening comes after district superintendents shared similar heartbreaking tragedies. As a unified group of school leaders, the superintendents decided it was time to have real conversations about real change.

“These deaths weigh heavy on our hearts,” said Blue Valley Superintendent Todd White. “It is unacceptable for our children to think that the very best way to improve their life is to end it.”

According to Johnson County Mental Health, teen suicides in the county nearly doubled in the first six months of 2018. Teen deaths by suicide are escalating nationally too. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14 and is the second-leading cause of death for ages 15 to 24.

The superintendents held a kick-off meeting in June and invited influential leaders representing mental health providers, parents, the faith community and local business community.

“As a community, we must all work together and address suicide head-on for the benefit of our children,” said Shawnee Mission Deputy Superintendent Kenny Southwick. “The mental health of our students is a top priority.”

Discussion focused on three key questions:
  • Why is there a rising number of teenagers experiencing mental health issues and choosing death by suicide?
  • How can school districts and community partners collaborate to multiply the impact of our work?
  • What strategies or action plans can we deploy to stop teen suicide and mitigate mental health concerns?
“We do not have all the answers, but through our collective effort and willingness to engage in conversations about suicide, we can provide a system of care and support for our children,” said Olathe Public Schools Superintendent John Allison.

The group plans to convene monthly.

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:
Kristi McNerlin
Chief Communications Officer
Blue Valley Schools
913-239-4032

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