Last year, Johnson County school districts and the county’s mental health center teamed up to launch the #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign to take on the stigma of suicide and raise awareness of prevention efforts and crisis resources.
But a pair of suicides in recent days, including the death of a teenager, have prompted the county’s mental health center director to call for continued vigilance in addressing the issue.
In the statement issued Wednesday, Tim DeWeese said that “the feelings of loss and despair our community is experiencing deepen with each individual” who takes his or her own life, and said Johnson County residents can take steps in their day-to-day lives to help those around them.
His full statement is below:
This morning I learned of two individuals who recently died by suicide. The feelings of loss and despair our community is experiencing deepen with each individual. My heart aches for the families experiencing this loss.
In the recent months, our community has come together in innovative ways to fight the tragedy of suicide. This morning’s news reinforces the fact that there is still significant work to be done. Mental health is an issue that needs the entire community to respond: parents, friends, coworkers, classmates, churches, schools, governments, businesses and non-profit organizations alike.
Our first work is to strengthen personal relationships and ensure that every individual knows they are not alone. This work comes in the day-to-day conversations and interactions we have with one another. Kindness, compassion and civility do matter.
We need to continue to have conversations around mental illness to decrease the stigma and increase an individual’s willingness to ask for help. Help is available in our community, regardless of a person’s background, socio-economic status, age, race, language or any other factor that may be a barrier.
We can do this together.
Johnson County 24/7 Crisis Line: 913-268-0156
National Crisis Text Line: 741741