Teen Council

The #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign is driven by the guidance, counsel and advice of the Teen Council. The Teen Council identifies priorities, forms strategy, approves initiatives/ tactics, and acts as spokespersons for the campaign.


Abby Hoepner

I’m a senior at Mill Valley High School. It’s important to me we remove the stigma surrounding the discussion of suicide, which prevents teens from reaching out for help.

Having a history of anxiety myself, I understand the important of having resources available and people to talk to. This remains true with suicide, where a supportive environment and availability of resources is essential. For this to happen, it is important that stigmas be broken down so students, parents, educators, and the community can better understand suicide itself and the type of help teens need.

There are #ZeroReasonsWhy we can’t talk about this.


I am a senior at Spring Hill High School. I’m the student body president. I have a lot of interaction with both students and faculty.

In 2015 one of my best friends took his life right before our freshman year. Almost a year later, another student from my class took his life. Suicide and mental health is a problem at every high school and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

This Teen Council is the beginning steps, because there are #ZeroReasonsWhy we shouldn’t talk about mental health.


blake burns

I’m senior at Gardner Edgerton High School. I personally had a friend take his life. I don’t want anyone to ever have to feel that type of pain. More importantly, I want people to feel like they belong. I want people to feel like they are somebody. I want them to feel like they are important. Suicide should never be an option. Suicide is a major epidemic in our society. I believe serving on the Teen Council will be a huge step to ending suicide.

There are #ZeroReasonsWhy we should lose another life to suicide.


Courtney Costain

I am a junior at Spring Hill High School and class president. I’m a part of the student publications at my high school. Last year we finally got a group of us that went to our adviser and were like, ‘Suicide is something that needs to be addressed. It needs to stop being something we don’t talk about.’ We finally got an edition out last year on suicide and we’ve got another one on the way this year.

For me, serving on this Teen Council is important because I’ve seen the isolation and hurt caused by mental illness. I’ve witnessed the lack of education on mental health because of a stigma.

There are #ZeroReasonsWhy teens should have to face mental illness uneducated and alone.


Drew langston

I am a senior at Olathe East High School. Suicide is a matter that should not be taken lightly nor be forbidden to discuss. As students it is our job to take care of one another as well as ourselves.

A commitment to formal education is extremely important. Mental health should be addressed earlier, beginning in middle school, and more thoroughly. It shouldn’t be an after thought in the Health class, or only addressed in a large school-wide assembly.

There are #ZeroReasonsWhy someone should feel alone in their community.


Mary Beth Karlin

I am a senior at Shawnee Mission West High School. My brother Tom Karlin took his life on Nov. 5, 2011, after being molested most of his life, which resulted in depression.

There are #ZeroReasonsWhy suicide should even be an option for teens, kids, and even adults. We need to educate everyone on how to get help and how to cope with depression, so we can stop these suicides.


rory swenson

I am currently a junior at Blue Valley North High School. Two weeks before my freshman year began, my mother committed suicide. So, my family has a deep connection to mental health issues, and since that day I have known this would be an issue I would work toward addressing.

My number one goal to to make sure my sister is taken care of. I want to make sure she has the support she needs. I want to unite the community against the stigma surrounding suicide, and bring the issue into the light.

There are #ZeroReasonsWhy anyone should feel as though they have no one left to turn to or to ask for help.


Taylor Fergola

I am a senior at Gardner Edgerton High School. I have many loved ones and kids in my school who come to me wanting me to help all the time.

There are #ZeroReasonsWhy we can’t make life a little better for each person we encounter in a day. I am more than grateful for this campaign and that me and everyone on it are going to try and help these cries with one smile at a time.


Weston curnow

I am a junior at Olathe West High School. At school I am involved with our Student Council and serve as Vice President. I also am heavily involved with Choir and Theatre at my high school. Outside school I Co-Chair the City of Olathe’s Olathe Teen Council and serve as a member of the Olathe Parks and Recreation Foundation Board. I chose to serve on the Teen Council because improving my community is very important to me. Anyway I can improve the lives around me I try to get involved with.

There are #ZeroReasonsWhy anyone should ever feel so isolated from that their community that they see suicide as their only option.