Technology Helping Teens Report Suicide Concerns

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nearly a year after Crimestoppers of Greater Kansas City launched a QR code for tip reporting, reports have come in of suicidal concerns among students.

“Kids started reporting bullying and then they started telling us about different student mental health issues,” Detective Christina Ludwig said.

Detective Ludwig oversees Greater Kansas City Crimestoppers and said 19 suicides were prevented, including one incident involving 7the qualifier this year.

“It is a preventive program. Instead of a reactive program. How about we prevent catastrophes from happening by saying what we know?

Tips can be anonymous and those involving suicide are forwarded to school leaders for investigation, sometimes school resource officers.

“We see students when they are not just in their normal day-to-day behavior,” said Lt. Scott Archer of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. “If they are depressed. If they are tall If they are low or away from their normal center, they see it.”

Lt. Archer has spent many years as a school resource officer with the North Kansas City School District and the officers see a variety of issues that affect students.

“It could be something outside of school. It could be a problem at school,” Lt. Archer said, “It could be the stress of family interactions. It could be the stress just from your day-to-day activities in schools.”

Robin Walsh founder and president of Choose2LiveA nonprofit organization that works to prevent suicide and help people struggling with mental illness and depression says more than one person will break the stigma.

“We have to do everything we can to break the stigma and it will take more than one group and one non-profit organization at the school,” explained Robin Walsh.

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Walsh started the organization after his own struggle with issues that resulted in a suicide attempt at age 21.

“I’ve been through abandonment, sexual trauma, and then the loss of a significant parent.”

Walsh said that in the two years that Choose2Live has been in existence, the majority of people who have received help are under the age of 18. As a result, he hung banners outside Lee’s Summit West High School to let young people know there are options for help.

“If these kids can walk out of this school today or tomorrow or any day that they’re struggling and they see something that says, ‘it’s not the end of your journey’ and it just makes them question their thoughts about ending their lives, then worth it,” Walsh explained.

If you or someone you know is battling mental illness or contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Hotline on 988.

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