September is National Suicide Prevention Month

NEWTON, Kan. (September 2, 2021) – September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness, educate and spread hope to those affected by suicide.

“Suicide occurs for many different and individualized reasons,” says Brent Ide, LSCSW, lead access clinician at Prairie View. “A lot of suicide prevention efforts are focused on identifying and providing treatment for persons who have an identified mental health concern. These efforts are important and needed, but are not enough.”

More than half of the individuals who die by suicide do not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death.

Recognizing Warning Signs

Suicide can be prevented by recognizing the warning signs.

“Emergency mental healthcare should happen when someone threatens to hurt or kill themselves, when they talk or write about death, especially when these actions are out of the ordinary, and when someone looks to kill self by seeking access to firearms, available medication or other means,” says Ide.

Additional warning signs that require additional information gathering and monitoring include increased substance use; purposelessness; anxiety; feeling trapped; hopelessness; withdrawal from friends, family and society; rage; acting reckless or engaging in risky activities without thinking; and dramatic changes.

“If warning signs are present, it is important to be respectful and caring when approaching the subject of suicide,” says Ide. “It is necessary that the person be asked directly if they are having thoughts of suicide.”

Asking directly about suicide, in a respectful manner, shows the person who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide that someone cares and that it is safe to discuss suicide.

Suicide Statistics

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 34 years old, and the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States.

Men 70 years of age or older have statistically higher suicide rates than any other age group.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.

Transgender people are 12 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.

In Kansas, on average, one person died by suicide every 16 hours in 2020, making it the ninth leading cause of death in the state. There were 556 deaths by suicide. Kansas ranks 13th in the nation for deaths by suicide. More than five times as many people died by suicide in the state in 2017 than in alcohol related motor vehicle accidents.

From 2017 to 2019, Marion County recorded 18.4 deaths by suicide per 100,000 population, according to Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). In the same timeframe, Harvey and McPherson counties each had 15.1 deaths by suicide per 100,000 population.

Suicide Prevention Resources

A number of resources exist to help connect individuals with treatment.

Prairie View’s mental health crisis hotline is available for those experiencing suicidal thoughts: 800-362-0180. Prairie View also offers a limited number of same-day therapy appointments. To schedule, call 800-992-6292.

Other resources include:

n National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255) OR 800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

n Crisis Text Line: 741741

n Trevor Project Lifeline (LGBTQIA): 866-273-8255

n Deaf Hotline: 800-799-4TTY (4889)

Call 911 for immediate assistance.

Prairie View, a faith-based behavioral health services provider, offers treatment and psychiatric services for all ages as well as consultations for businesses and organizations. In addition to our main campus in Newton with outpatient offices, psychiatric hospital and residential treatment for adolescents, Prairie View serves clients in Hillsboro, McPherson and at two locations in Wichita. To support Prairie View’s mission to transform lives, call 800-992-6292 or visit prairieview.org.

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