WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – It’s national “No Name Calling” week and students at Wichita West high school showed why it’s so important. The school say it’s an initiative to end bullying and bring awareness to mental health, especially in teens.
“We created these signs to spread the word and to get more attention. The signs go along with the no name calling initiative, so you see something and you’d think twice before you call somebody a name or pick on them,” Joseph Nunez, senior at Wichita West, says.
Students at the school wore signs with words that they’ve been negatively called with a positive phrase after the negative word. School counselor, Jill Terhune, says it’s to show that some may have a story that others are not aware of and to not judge others.
“(We) do get hurt by these names and some are very hurtful or could be more personal and that could lead to bad mental health and could increase suicide,” Tishuana, Wichita West senior, says.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in teens in the United States. West high teamed up with the “Zero Reasons Why” Campaign, which aims to prevent teen suicide. Leaders with the organization say, they want students to feel comfortable talking with people about their mental health.
“We’ve seen there is a growth that does happen when teens open up and being like “oh, it’s okay for me to open up about how I’m struggling. It’s okay for me to open up about how I don’t feel great. I don’t need to feel super shamed about it, I don’t need to feel ostracized by that.” It’s actually normal,” Davis Finley, field journalist for zero reasons why campaign, says.
And staff with the school says the students take this week very seriously every year.
“They might not realize that person’s story. ‘Everyone has a story’ is what I always tell my students. So, you know my name and not my story. You never know what might be going on with a student, so we shouldn’t judge and be kind and accepting,” Terhune says.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental help, the number for the National Suicide Prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255.
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