Providing real-world solutions to support teens in crisis

Founded in 1987, Kids Under Twenty One strives to be a lead agency in utilizing youth and adult partner volunteers in providing peer facilitated crisis prevention, suicide intervention and postvention support to youth in the St. Louis metropolitan area. KUTO trains youth with the skills, confidence and courage to help a friend or peer by implementing the “teens helping teens help themselves” philosophy.

Our best-known program, the KUTO Crisis Helpline, has helped thousands of teen callers identify and develop solutions for their problems. Trained youth Crisis Workers assist callers in working through feelings of anxiety, loneliness, depression or thoughts of suicide and develop action plans to manage stress, mediate conflict and overcome despair. Nearly one in ten callers report that a friend referred them to the KUTO Crisis Helpline.

KUTO works to creatively develop opportunities in which trained youth volunteers can empower and assist others in helping themselves and their peers. Our unique Peer Helper Team facilitates a structured program of peer helper skill building exercises and empowerment activities. Since the fall of 1992, KUTO Peer Helper teams have worked in public, private and parochial schools throughout the greater St. Louis metro area.

In 1997, we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the founding of KUTO with the addition of a new program, SurvivAbility. SurvivAbility is a series of learning workshops designed by young people for young people struggling as survivors of an attempted or completed suicide by a friend, relative or loved one. This unique, one of a kind peer-based program completes KUTO’s youth focused crisis prevention, suicide intervention and postvention support efforts.

KUTO provides practical Community Outreach and Education helping teens and adults become more aware and sensitive to the issues of teen stress and depression, effective coping mechanisms, crisis intervention strategies and adolescent suicide. KUTO staff are QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) certified suicide prevention facilitators and are seasoned crisis intervention educators.

KUTO is a member of the American Association of Suicidology, the national clearinghouse for research, public awareness, volunteer training, and related information on the prevention of suicide. We are recognized by the Missouri Department of Mental Health as a suicide prevention specialist and work collaboratively with area public, private and parochial, as well as mental health and wellness organizations.

Learn more about KUTO’s mission.