AT&T and Local Nonprofits Team Up to Support Youth Mental Health

$300,000 Believe Kansas City Initiative to Help Local Nonprofits Expand Outreach Programs

AT&T* is committed to helping build a better tomorrow for local youth by addressing the second-leading cause of death for young people in Kansas and Missouri: teen suicide. We’re doing that through a new initiative we call Believe Kansas CitySM. Believe Kansas City is an AT&T-employee initiative utilizing technology, innovation and collaboration to reduce mental health stigma, raise awareness and help mitigate the rise of teen suicides in the Kansas City metropolitan area. 

Committing more than $300,000 this year, and working with groups in both Kansas and Missouri like Mental Health America of the Heartland and Tri County Mental Health, Believe Kansas City will promote awareness and generate support around youth issues and suicide prevention (the full list of supporting organizations is below).

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, state and local elected officials from the greater Kansas City metro area, and Kansas and Missouri community organizations joined AT&T and Children’s Mercy Hospital CEO Paul Kempinski for a discussion on youth mental wellness to kick off today’s public launch of Believe Kansas City, which took place at Children’s Mercy Park.

“In recent years, Kansas has seen a steady uptick in suicide among young people,” said Kansas Governor Laura Kelly. “It’s encouraging to see efforts to raise awareness, and support young people with mental-health needs through the Believe Kansas City campaign and other initiatives across the metro and statewide in Kansas.”

“Thank you to AT&T for supporting this initiative and bringing us all together to discuss community-based partnerships and solutions,” said Paul Kempinski, President and CEO of Children’s Mercy. “Collaboration between Children’s Mercy and community agencies, community providers, and legislators will be required to address the growing pediatric mental health needs of our community.”

“AT&T is proud to support the communities where our employees and customers live, work and play,” said Alyson Woodard, vice president/general manager, Mid States Region. “Believe Kansas City is a grassroots, employee driven initiative with the goal of making an impact on a local issue. When we discovered that our local community was above the national average in the area of youth suicide, we felt compelled to act. We have a responsibility to support the health and well-being of our Kansas City metropolitan area and want to do what we can to support community agencies that strive to reduce the prevalence of youth suicide and reduce the level of stigma often associated with mental health conditions.”

Today’s discussion is only the start of our Believe Kansas City efforts. Over the coming weeks and months AT&T will also connect employees, family and friends with a range of volunteer activities:

  • #ZeroReasonsWhy march and rally on Sunday, September 29th from 1 – 3 p.m. at Mill Creek Park on the Country Club Plaza. Zero Reasons Why is a campaign led by teens who are telling their story, disrupting the epidemic of teen suicide, and changing the conversation around mental health in the Kansas City area.
  • Out of the Darkness Greater Kansas City Walk on Saturday, October 5th from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Swope Park to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy and support survivors of suicide loss.
  • The Northland Youth Leadership Summits, middle school and high school leadership programs giving students the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills and increase knowledge on topics that impact the health/safety of adolescents. Tuesday, October 8th and Wednesday, October 9th from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Platte Woods United Methodist Church.

Participating Organizations:

  • Children’s Mercy Hospital: Supporting integration of mental health components in the MyCare Tracker app
  • #ZeroReasonsWhy: Supporting #ZeroReasonsWhy storytelling and community mobilization campaign expansion throughout the Kansas City metro
  • InterUrban Art House & Arts as Mentorship: Supporting community art effort promoting mental wellness in the greater Kansas City community
  • Mental Health America of the Heartland: Supporting expansion of mental health programming in public schools
  • Friends of Johnson County Mental Health: Supporting #ZeroReasonsWhy campaign march and rally on September 29th
  • Headquarters, Inc./Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center: Supporting ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training)
  • ReDiscover: Implementation of #ZeroReasonsWhy among Missouri school districts
  • Tri County Mental Health: Supporting Northland Leadership Summit and the How Full is Your Cup Campaign
  • First Call: Supporting expansion of Signs of Suicide, Youth Mental Health First Aid and Mental Health First Aid programs in public and charter schools
  • Rockhurst University: Supporting Active Minds Chapter programming