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Mental Health Awareness Month: Tyler’s House KC provides teens sanctuary they need

By Olivia Acree

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    MISSION, Kansas (KSHB) — Kansas City-area high school freshman Alastor Reynolds said the mental health of his peers is “very not okay.”

“I know multiple people and have multiple friends that are struggling right now, and they just can’t really get the help they need,” he said.

But Tyler’s House KC is working to make a difference. Reynolds said Tyler’s House is a place where he feels safe and feels like he belongs.

The teen wants to inform the Kansas City community of the positive impact such places have on teen mental health.

“I mean, high school is a lot,” Reynolds said. “There’s a lot of work, there’s a lot of drama, there’s a lot of new things going on.”

When there was no school to keep him busy, he started spending time at Tyler’s House.

“I kind of realized it’s so fun here. Sometimes I’d have a really stressful day and need to relax,” Reynolds said.

During his relaxation, he’s surrounded by others like Cori Hastings, a former teacher who founded Tyler’s House.

“I used to work at a local high school here and was just noticing a lot of students falling through the cracks,” Hastings said. “There was just not enough time to really target the needs of the students.”

Teens agree.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) heard from teens about their mental health, and only half of them said their school thinks mental health matters.

“We’re just trying to reach them however we need to, with the overall thing being all of this is connection, belonging and it supports our mental health,” Hastings said.

High schoolers are welcome at Tyler’s House on weekdays after school. They can be part of volunteer-led activities or attend a space where they feel seen and heard.

“It’s a very welcoming environment. I’m very comfortable here,” Reynolds said. “Not just because I’ve been here a lot but because the people here, students and volunteers, are easy to talk to, and you can just relate to them with so many other things.”

Reynolds said he wishes schools had safe spaces like this. NAMI reported that two in three teens agree schools should teach what mental health is and how to find treatment.

KSHB 41’s Olivia Acree asked Reynolds what he’d do without Tyler’s House.

“I don’t really know what I’d do, honestly,” he said.

He encourages teens who feel the same to stop by.

“If you’re in high school, come to Tyler’s House. We would love to have you,” Reynolds said.

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