Thousands attend walk to fight teen suicide

OLATHE, Kan. - More than 1,500 people in Kansas and Missouri have died from suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Sadly, it's a number that grows every day, especially among teens.

So, one local non-profit is among the groups trying to lower that number by getting parents to talk with their kids about the subject.

Thousands of people came together Sunday morning at the Garmin Campus to bring awareness to teen suicide.

This is the third year of the Speak Up Walk. Local parents, who lost their teens to suicide, founded the organization and walk.

"I lost my daughter Lane two years ago today (Sunday) and she didn't have the conversation and she wouldn't have the conversation," said Jan Marrs, co-founder of the walk.

Organizers said more than 30 teens have died from suicide in our area. Marrs knew after losing her daughter, she had to do something.

"The problem with mental health is it's like any other illness, but it's one we don't speak about. When it's kept inside, it becomes deadly," said Marrs.

She connected with other families, who experienced her same grief.

The organization has brought families together like the Wilson family that lost their daughter, Regan and the Harrells', who lost their son Chad.

"We understand one another. So, we are a great support system because we have good days and we have bad days. Hopefully when one of us is having a bad day, somebody can pick us up," said Regan's mom, B.J. Thomas Wilson.

They also want parents and teens to talk about this tough subject.

"To help get people talking about, it's okay to if you are struggling with mental health, how to have that conversation," said Marrs.

The Marrs, along with other families said even if you think your child is okay, still have the talk.

"It's so great to have so many people talking, engaging and talking to their kids with those tough questions, is this something you've considered, how are you feeling, we know that it's hard to be a kid, talk to us," said Chad's mom, Sylvia Harrell.

Organizers have a goal of $120,00 and are very close to getting to it. The money raised will go towards their teen run programs, that are geared towards suicide prevention.

To donate: www.speakup.us

For more information: KTSA.ORG

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