News Releases and Media Advisories

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

For Immediate Release

September 1, 2023

For more information, contact:
Cara Sloan-Ramos

Topeka, Kan. – To raise awareness and educate Kansans on Suicide Prevention, Governor Laura Kelly signed a proclamation on Friday, August 25, 2023, designating September as Suicide Prevention Month in the State of Kansas.

Suicide Prevention Month is observed in conjunction with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, “Creating Hope Through Action,” and National Suicide Prevention Week September 10th- 16th, which reminds us that across the United States we should educate and inform the public about suicide prevention and the warning signs of suicide, aim to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide, and encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance.

“While the rates of suicide deaths continue to increase both nationally and in Kansas, recently Kansas has invested in new suicide prevention programs and state infrastructure in line with our state suicide prevention plan,” Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Commissioner of Behavioral Health Services Andy Brown said.

In the past year, Kansas has made suicide prevention a priority, as evidenced by continued increase in capacity and infrastructure, which includes: KDADS being awarded the Garrett Lee Smith State/Tribal Suicide Prevention Program Grant for the first time, which will implement youth suicide prevention and early intervention strategies; expanding the Kansas Suicide Prevention Coalition comprised of more than 70 members representing both public and private organizations as well as individuals with lived experience; celebrating  the one-year anniversary of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline that launched in July 2022 and has led to a successful transition and achievement of a greater than 90% answer call rate for centers; receiving an investment of approximately $1.5 million in state funding to address suicide prevention and awarding 15 communities with a portion of this funding to engage in suicide prevention services and activities across the lifespan; and awarding more than $600,000 to support postvention efforts for impacted persons and families.

In Kansas from 2011 to 2021:

  • The suicide death rate increased by 44.5 percent. Suicide has consistently been in the top 10 leading causes of death among all ages with the highest rate of suicides for those aged 25-34 years.
  • The number of suicides caused by firearms has increased by 50 percent.
  • In 2021, the most suicide deaths by total count in Kansas occurred in the Northeast region, and the highest rate per 100,000 residents was in the Northwest (23 total count; 24.7 rate per 100,000).
  • Residents in rural and frontier counties are disproportionally effected by suicide.
  • Most suicides, approximately 83 percent, were among non-Hispanic Whites; with an increase of approximately 54 percent among the Black non-Hispanic population.
  • For early adolescents aged 10-14 years and youth aged 15-24 years, suicide was the second leading cause of death from 2016 to 2020.
  • From 2016 to 2020, approximately 72.4 per 100,000 Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) who have faithfully and honorably served our state and nation, died by suicide, a rate 3.4 times the rate of non-veterans.  

“Suicide Prevention month serves as an annual opportunity for us to reflect on the work being done statewide to address suicide and a time to join with all those who are affected by suicide loss in acknowledging the heartbreak so many continue to experience. Considering the increasing number of suicides in the nation and here in Kansas, it can become tempting to feel like there is no hope or that help is not available,” Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ Vice President of Prevention and Policy Programs Monica Kurz said. “Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ works hard every day with partners across the state to stand with those experiencing crisis and those who want to provide compassionate relief from crisis. This September we are issuing a call to join us in a movement for suicide prevention and resilience in Kansas by helping to increase human connection at every level, normalize seeking help and learning to recognize warning signs where they exist because it takes all of us to care for each of us.”

For free, confidential support or prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones 24/7, call or text 988 or chat to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

View the Governor's proclamation here.