For Immediate Release
September 2, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE recognizes September 6 - 12 as Suicide Prevention Week

The tragedy of suicide can be difficult to understand. What’s not always known is that suicide is often preventable. There are telltale warning signs and well-documented risk factors.

Suicide Prevention Week is dedicated to helping everyone learn more about suicide and get involved in its prevention,

In 2006, Kansas had the 17th highest rate of death by suicide among the states.  Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in Kansas for all ages, and the 2nd leading cause for ages 15 – 34 years.

Nationally, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death, with one suicide occurring on average every 16 minutes.  It is estimated that five million living Americans have attempted to kill themselves, and another five million are survivors of the suicide of a friend, family member, or loved one.

The Suicide Prevention Subcommittee of the Governor’s Mental Health Services Planning Council is dedicated to reducing the frequency of suicide attempts and deaths in Kansas, and to lessening the pain for those affected by suicide deaths, through research projects, educational programs, intervention services and bereavement services.

“In Kansas, effective prevention strategies are necessary to promote awareness about suicide and overcome misconceptions about it”, said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, State Health Officer and Director of the Division of Health at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). “Suicide can be prevented with better treatment of depression, stronger public health action to prevent alcohol and drug abuse, and greater commitment to building social cohesion in our neighborhoods and communities.”

Staff from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) serves on the Council which is comprised of representatives of mental health organizations, state agencies, educational institutions and the community at large.

In recognition of Suicide Prevention Week, September 6-12, the Council urges that all Kansans: