KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nearly a year after the Greater Kansas City Crimestoppers launched a QR code to report tips, reports of suicidal concerns from school students have rolled in.
"Kids started reported about bullying and then they started telling us about different students mental health issues," said Detective Christina Ludwig.
Detective Ludwig oversees the Greater Kansas City Crimestoppers and said 19 suicides were prevented that to tips, including one incident involving a 7th grader this year.
“It’s a preventative program. Instead of a reactive program. How about we prevent catastrophes from happening by saying what we know.”
Tips can be anonymously and ones involving suicide are sent to school leaders to be investigated, sometimes by school resource officers.
“We see students when they’re not just on their normal day to day behaviors," said Lt. Scott Archer with the Clay County Sheriff's Office. "If they’re down. If they’re high. If they’re low or away from their normal center, they see that.”
Lt. Archer has spent many years as a school resource officer with the North Kansas City School District and officers see a variety of issues impacting students.
"It could be something out of school. It could be an issue at school," Lt. Archer said, "It can be stress from family interactions. It can be stress from just their day-to-day activities at schools."
Robin Walsh founder and president of Choose2Live, a non-profit that works to prevent suicide and help people struggling with mental illness and depression says its gonna more than one person to break the stigma.
"We got to do all we can to break the stigma and it’s going to take more than one group and one nonprofit in school," explained Robin Walsh.
Walsh started the organization after her own struggle with issues that resulted in a suicide attempt at 21.
"I’ve gone through abandonment, sexual trauma and then the loss of a significant parent."
Walsh said in the two years Choose2Live has existed, a majority of the people helped are under 18. As a result, she has hung banners outside Lee's Summit West High School to let young people know there are options for help.
“If these kids can pull out of this school today or tomorrow or any day that they’re struggling and see something that says, 'it’s not the end of your journey' and just get them to question their thoughts that they’re having of ending their life, then it’s worth it," explained Walsh.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness or contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Hotline at 988.