TOPEKA, KAN. – On March 26, 2024, the Kansas Statehouse hosted Mental Health Advocacy Day, where the Kansas Senate honored Zero Reasons Why, a teen-led grassroots campaign focusing on removing the stigma around mental health and preventing youth suicide. Teen representatives from the campaign were invited onto the Senate floor by Senator Dinah Sykes and Senator Cindy Holscher, who extended official recognition to Zero Reasons Why for its role in fostering mental health awareness and advocacy in schools and communities throughout Kansas. 

This recognition reinforces our commitment to our cause and the importance of amplifying the voices of young people in the conversation surrounding mental health. We were honored to be recognized! 

The event drew participation from over 400 students from across Kansas. Among them were thirty teen leaders representing all three Zero Reasons Why Kansas chapters. In addition to being recognized by the Senate, our teen leaders engaged in meaningful discussions with Governor Laura Kelly and met with several members of the House of Representatives, sharing personal stories and insights to underscore the significance of prioritizing mental health support for young people.

The day served as an important reminder of the power of advocacy and tackling the stigma surrounding mental health. By fostering an environment where young people feel equipped to speak out and seek help, we all contribute to a culture of understanding and support. 

A special thank you to Sen. Sykes and Sen. Holscher for facilitating our recognition on the Senate floor, and to Governor Kelly, Rep. Martinez, Rep. Osman, Rep. Thompson, Sen. Holscher and Sen. Pittman for taking the time to meet with our teens and learn about the Campaign. 

Youth Leaders in Kansas (YLINK), an initiative supported by grant funds from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services’ Behavioral Health Services Commission, hosted the event. YLINK provides a platform for young adults ages 12 to 18 to cultivate leadership skills and promote awareness around mental health stigma reduction, suicide prevention and behavioral health. 


Now in its sixth year, Zero Reasons Why was originally established in 2018 to address rising rates of teen suicide in Johnson County, Kan. Sponsored by local mental health centers and supported by school district leadership, Zero Reasons Why successfully engages teen activists in mental health advocacy and community mobilization efforts and uses social media to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health struggles through storytelling. 

Zero Reasons Why and other community efforts helped reduce suicide deaths by 33 percent in 2020 in Johnson County, Kansas, bucking a national trend that saw suicide as the second-leading cause of death among Americans ages 10 to 34. Zero Reasons Why now operates chapters in communities across the state, reaching 42 percent of all Kansas high school students.