Within a community, mental health efforts span across a continuum of care. The mental health continuum of care includes all resources, programs, organizations and efforts to support mental health needs within a community.  

Zero Reasons Why focuses where the continuum starts with widespread awareness, focused on moving upstream on the mental health continuum of care. While work is needed across the entire continuum of care, Zero Reasons Why focuses on promotion in order to prevent teens from moving along the continuum and elevating the conversation before teens end up in a crisis. Our three strategic pillars – Remove the Stigma, Build Community Support and Commit to Education – each have activities that lend to promoting positive mental health. 

All Zero Reasons Why promotion efforts – whether through storytelling or community mobilization activities – are centered around helping further progress and bring about innovation along the entire continuum of care with community partners to prevent teen suicide. One critical outcome of the Zero Reasons Why Campaign is to promote collaboration under a common movement to help break down silos between stakeholders in the community. The framework provides a way for an entire community to act, inviting all stakeholders get involved no matter where they fall along the continuum.

Originated by the Zero Reasons Why™ Teen Council, the strategic plan gives communities a unifying strategy to work together toward a common goal. While the three pillars remain the same from one community to another, each community forms unique tactics and initiatives under each of the pillars.

Overflow, the Kansas City-based idea adoption agency that helps power the Campaign, helped the first Teen Council define the three pillars of Zero Reasons Why during initial launch through teen-led conversations, community feedback, listening sessions, symposiums, convenings with key stakeholders, reverse hacks and dotmocracy exercises. An entire community weighed in and the Teen Council determined the three pillars that all Campaign activities would fall under:   

  • Remove the Stigma: eliminate the stigma associated with mental health and suicide and open the dialogue for real change. 
  • Build Community Support: bring the community together to spur unconditional support without judgement.  
  • Commit to Education: improve and implement mental health and suicide prevention education consistently and earlier. 

The three pillars continue to guide efforts and can translate from one community to the next. Some initiatives are taken on by community partners, while others are identified as teen-led action within the Campaign. Communities can tailor specific initiatives or tactics for each pillar based on their primary barriers to teen mental wellness. Every community is different, but an overarching Community Plan and pillars gives a framework for new implementations to follow as they create their own specific strategies with teens in each community. The goal is to provide a launching-off point for teens and community members alike to come together under a common banner to make change. 

Committing to these core strategic pillars allows the community to identify the most immediate impactful actions to collectively disrupt the rise in teen suicide. Aligning teens, educators, parents, and the mental health community in their efforts to promote mental health and prevent suicide can truly accelerate positive change. 

Learn more about how the Community Plan accomplishes this through our two primary Campaign activities: Storytelling and Community Mobilization.