In wake of Olathe Northwest deaths, SM East students delve into topic of teen suicide


Earlier this month, two Olathe Northwest students — both members of the school’s girls soccer team – took their own lives just two days apart from each other.

The news sent a shock through not only through the Olathe Northwest community, but throughout all of Johnson County, where students and parents wondered how such a tragedy could have struck. In the wake of the Olathe Northwest deaths, the editors of the SM East school newspaper, the Harbinger, felt that the taboo subject of teen suicide needed to be brought out in the open.

They spent the past two weeks putting together a slate of stories on the subject — the views of students who struggle with depression, an overview of the breadth and depth of the problem, tips for coping — in a special section released this week.

You can see the entire section online here.

Editor Julia Poe said the process of researching and writing the section had opened the staffs’ eyes to the fact that it’s often impossible to know just what’s going on in someone’s interior life.

“The most important thing I took away from the last two weeks was that it’s impossible to know anyone’s story,” Poe said. “No matter how perfect someone seems, no matter how flawless their grades or their looks or their life may seem, there’s no way to tell what they might be hiding. I hope this taught our staff and our community to watch out for each other and not to be afraid of this discussion, and I hope this is just the beginning of this conversation.”