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September 27th, 2021

ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


To raise awareness and educate Kansans on suicide prevention, Gov. Laura Kelly signed a proclamation Friday designating September as Suicide Prevention Month for the state of Kansas.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the need for Kansans of all ages to have access to comprehensive mental health resources across our state,” Gov. Kelly noted in a release from the State of Kansas. “This month and every month, we must focus on ways to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness, and make sure people of all ages know that help is always available if they need it. Suicide Prevention Month is observed in conjunction with World Suicide Prevention Day Sept. 10 and National Suicide Prevention Week Sept. 5 through 11.”

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) has partnered with the Kansas Prevention Collaborative (KPC), the Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ (KSPHQ) and Prevention Initiatives at Wichita State University’s Community Engagement Institute to develop this year’s statewide 2021 Kansas Suicide Prevention Awareness Campaign, “Check In,” the State of Kansas release noted. 

The campaign is designed to:

• Promote making connections that will create the social support needed to help reduce the risk of suicidal behavior

• Help dismantle the stigma surrounding youth and adults who seek mental health services

• Relieve the feelings of shame, guilt and isolation for those dealing with depression or thoughts of suicide by normalizing the conversation

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“Raising awareness in its simplest form can start by not being afraid to ask, or “check in” when we are worried about someone or asking for help if we need it ourselves,” KDADS Secretary Laura Howard noted in the State of Kansas release. “Individually and together with the team of local coalitions we’ve built, we can have a positive impact on the reduction of deaths by suicide, and effectively address behavioral health prevention in our communities around the state. In Kansas, suicide has consistently been in the top 10 leading causes of death among all ages. The 2019 Kansas Summary of Vital Statistics reported 521 deaths by suicide in the state, the highest it’s been in the last 20 years and higher than the national rate. Kansas data also shows suicide is the second leading cause of death in people ages 15-34 years.” 

According to data from Kansas Communities that Care, in 2019, 40 percent of reporting youth self-disclosed they felt sad or hopeless every day for at least two weeks at some point in the last 12 months, and the first two sources from whom a youth with mental health concerns would seek help are a partner/significant other or a friend 

“Service Members, Veterans and their Families (SMVF) in Kansas who have faithfully and honorably served our state and nation have seen a suicide rate 3.4 times the rate of non-veterans and significantly higher than the national rate. From 2015 to 2017, 67 per 100,000 veterans died by suicide,” the State of Kansas release noted. “Gov. Kelly’s proclamation highlights the many ways Kansas is dedicated to eliminating suicide and raising awareness. It recognizes suicide as a ‘significant public health problem” and declares prevention a ‘statewide priority.’”

In 2019 alone, 47,511 Americans died by suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP)

“The age-adjusted suicide rate in 2019 was 13.93 per 100,000 individuals, and the rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men,” the ASFP noted. “In 2019, men died by suicide 3.63 times as often as women and on average, there are 130 suicides per day. White males accounted for 69.38 percent of suicide deaths in 2019, and In 2019, firearms accounted for 50.39 percent of all suicide deaths. In 2019, the suicide rates were higher among adults ages 45 to 54 years (19.60 per 100,000) and 55 to 64 years (19.41 per 100,000), with the rate highest among adults ages 85 years or older (20.12 per 100,000), the only age group with a rate increase from 19.07 in 2018 to 20.12 in 2019. Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2019, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 13.95.”


About the Kansas Prevention Collaborative

The Kansas Prevention Collaborative was organized by KDADS in 2015 to integrate and innovate behavioral health prevention efforts. A partnership of several different state, educational, and provider agencies, the KPC’s goal is to expand prevention efforts to be more inclusive of mental health promotion, suicide prevention, and problem gambling education and awareness, as well as to increase the availability of resources to adequately fund local-level prevention and promotion strategic plans. For interviews, media inquiries or more information, please contact the Kansas Prevention Collaborative at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


For free, confidential support or prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones 24/7, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 or text 741741.

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