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'People are losing their battle': KC man hopes to bring change for students battling mental health

KC man hopes to bring awareness to student's mental health
Posted at 6:09 AM, May 03, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A man from West Africa has found a new purpose in Kansas City, channeling his own struggles into an initiative aimed at supporting student's mental health.

Ebrima Abraham Sisay moved from his homeland to the states at a young age. During his childhood he experienced lots of tragedy that weighed heavily on him.

“Me personally, unfortunately, I was molested by one of our coaches. And I saw a few of my friends pass away. I had a sibling that actually passed, so I experienced a lot of loss," Sisay said.

Arriving in the United States, he quickly became aware of the profound impact mental health issues can have, especially among young people.

“I was that little boy that needed that resources and I want to make sure every child has that resources," Sisay said.

Through his program Freedom Project KC, a program surrounding mental health, for nearly eight years he's been involved in studies in how to promote change in the lives of students.

“I believe that the FEM education is going to help kids from a very young age to know what's in the world today," Sisay said.

F.E.M., which stands for Fostering Emotional Maturity Education, is a curriculum for students through the power of storytelling and technology. Sisay said national statistics tell us it's time to act now.

“Every day, we have 130 suicides in the US," Sisay said. "If you were to just visualize that, it's like having one Boeing 707 falling down every day from the sky."

Sisay has been working with state legislatures to ensure a bill protects his curriculum. While Sisay awaits for his project to be adopted by a school, he hopes it's eye-opening for people that a mental health crisis is growing.

"We tend to just watch and not actually take action," he said. "And I don't think a lot of people know that suicide is that bad when it comes to how many people are losing their battle every single day.”