Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center is working to reach out to area students with nearly 3,200 reminders that help is available when experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis.
Partnering with Sharla Miller with 13 Reasons to Fly SEK, SEKMHC created stickers themed to share information about 988, the National Suicide and Crisis lifeline. We distributed nearly 3,200 of them to students in 13 high schools in our six-county catchment area.
“Even if we help just one student – that’s one life that might be saved,” commented Miller. “We need to get better at letting kids know it’s ok not to be ok. We need to encourage those conversations.”
Miller, a strong mental health advocate in the community, started the SEK chapter of 13 Reasons to Fly after her son died by suicide nearly four years ago.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-24 in Kansas. Kids are reporting feelings of depression and anxiety at higher rates than ever before. Teachers are observing alarming mental health challenges experienced by their students daily. It’s undeniable that children need help.
“We hope to see lots of stickers on laptops, water bottles, and other student belongings soon!” explained Megan Hageman, SEKMHC prevention and promotion specialist. “Getting this information to the youth in the area can make a huge difference. Showing kids that they have support, no matter what, is essential!”
988 (similar to 911) is the national hotline designated to support individuals experiencing a mental health or suicide crisis. Callers may call confidentially and speak with mental health professionals who can help them through their crises and provide referrals for additional mental health resources.
13 Reasons to Fly, a non-profit organization, works to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness while spreading hope to those who are struggling. The foundation advocates for continual mental health care reform so that recovery can be equitable and accessible to all people. The SEK chapter, serving Allen County and surrounding communities, incorporates education, shared stories, and teens’ perspectives to dismantle the stigma of mental health.
The mission of the Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center is to provide, advocate and coordinate quality mental health care, services, and programs for people in its service area. Our vision is to improve the quality of life in southeast Kansas. Our core services include outpatient psychiatry, therapy, consultation, chemical abuse counseling, case management, educational and skill-building groups, specialty training, physical healthcare coordination, and 24/7 crisis intervention services. We offer services and programs in the following counties: Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Linn, Neosho, and Woodson.