The Greely High School hockey team shows its support for KyleCares at a recent game. The local chapter of KyleCares is dedicated to combating the stigma around mental illness. Contributed / Finlay McLean

A suicide prevention group with the goal of destigmatizing mental illness in youth has become one of the fastest growing and most active student clubs at Greely High School this school year.

The Greely chapter of KyleCares started out with five students and within a month had 35 members.

Students want to be helpful and active in the community, said student member Finlay McLean, and mental health is a growing concern among teenagers. He wants to do what he can to help.

“I’ve always been an open person,” McLean said. “I want to be there for people. If they have anything to talk about at all, I want to be that person.”

Greely counselor Melissa Fowler and student Charlie Anania launched the local KyleCares chapter after Fowler learned about the Kyle Johnson Foundation at a National Honor Society convention last year. The initiative was started by the family of a Massachusetts 19-year-old who died by suicide in 2018, with the goal of eliminating “student self-harm and suicide by creating school environments where students and their caregivers have the confidence and support to seek help without shame or hesitation.”

“This has been a passion of mine,” Fowler said. “The thing that’s been the toughest is that resources just aren’t out there.”


In 2021, suicide was the second leading cause of death in the 15- to 24-year-old age group, according to the foundation. Between 2007 and 2018, according to CDC, the suicide rate among adolescents and young adults aged 10-24 increased 57%.

“We’ve had suicides in the community with teens,” Fowler said. “This affects everybody.”

The club works to provide resources to students struggling with mental illness or thoughts of suicide, and hosts events to help spread awareness.

Since the club’s creation this fall, every sports team at Greely has hosted one game dedicated to the KyleCares project. The soccer team wore green wrist tape – green ribbons are the international symbol for mental health awareness – and the swim team wore green swim caps. Spectators are encouraged to wear green to the events, and a club member from each team gives a speech in honor of KyleCares before each game.

“Part of the reason why we do the sports games is because in the sports community, there’s a stigma that athletes are all happy kids,” McLean said. “That’s not the case.”

The KyleCares chapter will host several events in coming months centered around mental health. On Feb. 8, a speaker will present a “Minding Your Mind” talk at the Greely High School Performing Arts Center, and a 5K is planned for April.

“We’ve got a lot going on to give back,” Fowler said. “We’re normalizing ‘it’s OK not to be OK.’”

Every fall and winter athletic team at Greely has hosted a game in honor of KyleCares. Contributed / Finlay McLean

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