Teens offer their perspectives to local business leaders & parents

Teen survey part of initial steps taken by community task force focusing on youth mental health and suicide prevention

It’s not easy being a teen. Never has been.

But are the difficulties facing today’s youth harder than the previous generation’s? Or the one before that? Is it harder today than it was for their parents? What’s it like being a teen in 2018?

These were the questions popping up in the initial meetings of a local community task force focusing on youth mental health and suicide prevention. The group, sponsored by Lee’s Summit CARES, came together after the local community dealt with the aftermath of multiple teen deaths by suicide in the past year.

As the group began looking at what resources it could and should provide to both youth and their parents, they opted to begin by gaining perspective of today’s teens. In the spring of 2018, a survey was given to students middle through high school in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School district and surrounding areas. More than 475 teens responded to the survey and results are now being made available to the community.

“This was a great first step for us,” said ReDiscover’s Kerri Gray, who leads the task force. “When we first started meeting, it didn’t take long for us to realize we needed a better handle on the perspective’s of today’s youth. And I think what we’re learning is that their answers aren’t always what we expected. And that they have want to have a voice and hand in finding solutions for the problems they face.”

In an effort to better aid the community in understanding the results, the task force hosted a pair of community conversations where small groups of teens were able to offer their perspectives on the questions asked, results taken and the issues they’d like addressed. Each session had more than 60 people in attendance.

In one session, a group of teens spoke to members of the Lee’s Summit CARES Board of Directors, as well as local elected officials, community stakeholders and business leaders. In a second session, a separate group presented to a group of parents and families.

Results from the survey can be found here.

Audio from the business community session.

Audio and video from the parent session.


Editor’s note: Link 2 Lee’s Summit’s Nick Parker is a member of the community task force and moderated the teen presentations.