The explosive sound of a single gunshot rang out from a bathroom inside Lee’s Summit North High School when Gemesha Thomas took her own life there on Sept. 29.
Her suicide left classmates, friends, teachers and school officials wondering what had troubled this 17-year-old high school senior into such a state of hopelessness.
But it’s far from the first time such a tragedy has happened in our area.
In 2014, Ryker Lewis, 15, took his own life eight months after his “best friend,” Ethan Young, committed suicide. That same year Ciara (CiCi) Marie Webb, 16, committed suicide at her Olathe, Kan. home, and days later her friend and Olathe Northwest High School soccer teammate, Cady Housh, stepped in front of a train.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Kansas City-area young people between the ages of 10 and 24, reflecting a national trend.
The Star is reaching out to readers to help us to tell some of their stories and open a dialogue about teen suicide.
Through answers we’ll gain from this survey, perhaps we can begin to understand some of the causes, and realize suicide’s profound impact on family and friends.
If you have trouble seeing the survey, follow this link.