November Newsletter

Kansas Annual Summary of Vital Statistics - 2014

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment recently released its Annual Summary of Vital Statistics for 2014. This annual report includes data on suicide in Kansas. Some important takeaways:

  • 454 Suicide deaths in Kansas - 2014
  • Suicide remains the second leading cause of death for the 15-24 age-group. Suicide also remains the second leading cause of death for the 25-44 age-group. Suicide has fallen to the fourth leading cause of death for the 5-14 age-group. It remains the 5th leading cause of death for the 45-64 age-group.
  • Approximately one Kansan died by suicide each day in 2014.
  • The average age of death by suicide was 46.8 in 2014.
  • Suicide remains the 10th leading cause of death in Kansas.
  • Suicide accounted for approximately 13,107 years of potential life lost in 2014.
You can read more and find more highlights on the Data and Statistics Page of the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

Statewide updates

Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center
During Suicide Prevention Month and throughout October, the KSPRC distributed over 10,000 wristbands that include the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, over 6,000 pens, and over 5,000 warning signs wallet cards throughout the state.

The KSPRC also held several trainings around the state, including ASIST and Yellow Ribbon. Read more. 

The Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition

Global speaker, author and mental health advocate, Kevin Hines came to Johnson County for a week full of speaking engagements in the Blue Valley School District and for the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Johnson County Mental Health Center hosted Kevin Hines on August 28th where he shared his story of survival and his message of hope. There was excellent turnout with over 100 attendees. Kevin truly is an inspiration.

Suicide Prevention Week was recognized during the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners meeting on Thursday, September 10th. Representation from the Johnson County Suicide Prevention coalition included leadership from two local police departments and the Johnson County Mental Health Center.

During Suicide Prevention Week (September 8-13), Johnson County Mental Health Center posted daily information about suicide prevention on the Facebook page. A one page informational sheet and other awareness materials were distributed around the county to be utilized during the week.

Through the hard work of the Johnson County Suicide Prevention coalition in collaboration with Cenpatico and the Douglas County Suicide Prevention Coalition, an image with messaging was created to utilize grant dollars for a suicide prevention awareness campaign. The image below rolled out during suicide prevention week. Over 2000 posters, 500 post cards & 10,000 magnets were distributed throughout Johnson County with this message on it. 

JoCo Campaign

Douglas County Suicide Prevention Coalition

During suicide prevention week, the coalition hosted a Dialogue between suicide attempt survivors at the public library. The audience listened to three amazing individuals tell their stories of pain, suffering, and hope. They learned about coping skills and self-care. The attempt survivors shared, through their experiences, what worked for them and what didn't and how they came through with a perspective of a life worth living.

The dialogue event was followed by a candlelight vigil outside of the library where the participants remembered loved ones lost to suicide and those who they still fight for. 

The coalition is currently working on completing incorporation paperwork and will start exploring application paperwork for 501(c)(3) status in the next few weeks. Over the last quarter, the coalition has developed and approved bylaws and accepted members from several new organizations. In the next few months, the coalition hopes to develop a speakers bureau, continue offering training, and to find partners within at-risk populations.

The Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition

The Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition hosted their 3rd Annual 5K Run/Walk on September 19th as part of Suicide Prevention Month.  There were a record number of participants that included 16 teams and over 200 individuals, so many that the organizers ran out of run identification numbers.  In addition to the run itself there was a band for entertainment, a wall upon which people could recognize family or friends who had died by suicide, and a display of a quilt also made in recognition of people who died by suicide.  Funds raised at the event will go toward prevention efforts and to print suicide information, such as the Suicide Survivors handbook that just went to print.  

The Coalition also hosted an ASIST training that was facilitated by Chaplain Potter, who is with the National Guard. A second ASIST training was held in November.  The Coalition continues to meet bi-monthly, with the next meeting at 9 AM on November 19th at Family Service & Guidance Center in Topeka.

The Northwest Kansas Suicide Prevention Coalition

Northwest Kansas held a 2 mile color run on September 9th. 288 kids in grades 7-12, their parents, and other family members participated in the walk.  The planned route passed by all 3 school buildings.  A huge highlight for the participants seemed to be when they reached the elementary building where kids were lined up so the runners could run between the 2 lines. When they ran out of color they gave high fives and the runners loved it!  There were signs along the route with suicide facts and info and the next day there was a quiz participants could take to enter a drawing for a prize.  There were other prizes, free water bottles, and granola bars at the end.  It was an amazing success and everyone seemed to enjoy it.


Marillac kicked off the #notevenone campaign at a T-Bones event towards the end of August in partnership with the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Suicide prevention awareness videos produced by St. Thomas Aquinas students and Mix 93.3 were debuted. The videos were submitted to NAMI, Active Minds, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Stampout Stigma, and Reddit to gain more exposure. Fox 4 News and Mix 93.3 were both onsite to help promote the event and media coverage included promotions by Fox 4 News, Mix 93.3, KC102.1, KFKF and Q104.

At the beginning of Suicide Prevention Week, Marillac's app became available to the public and was promoted.  The app is called Not Even One and is FREE to the public. It's available on both the App Store and Google Play.

An assembly was held at St. Thomas Aquinas on September 10th.  The students who produced and participated in the awareness video production were presented with a donation of $1000 to further suicide prevention efforts. Funds were from the Kansas Youth Suicide Prevention Activities Grant that were designated to hire an outside videographer.  Chris Maxwell (from KS Suicide Prevention Resource Center) and Lynn Lemke, CEO for Marillac were both onsite to present the donation to the students.  During a lunch assembly we interacted with approximately 2500 students/faculty.  Wristbands with Marillac info and suicide prevention materials were passed out.  A similar event at Shawnee Mission South was held on September 23rd. 

Marillac is continuing to explore how to increase awareness of suicide prevention in Johnson County by working with schools and influential partners in the area.

Additional Activities

The Words Save Lives event was held on September 10, 2015 at Lawrence Creates Makerspace in Lawrence.

Through the course of a long evening of Poetry, Stories, Music, Comedy, nearly 150 people ranging from teens to older adults gathered to listen, learn, and talk together. Hearing others' stories through words and music resulted in reducing feelings of shame and burdensomeness, increased hope and belonging.  Words Save Lives is an annual event on International Suicide Prevention Day. 

Stayin' Alive, a support group for survivors of suicide attempts began in early October. The next 8-week session will begin in late-January 2016.

This support group which meets in Lawrence, KS is by and for adult (18 or over) survivors of suicide attempts. Membership is NOT limited to Lawrence/Douglas County.  Stayin' Alive is based on past groups at the Didi Hirsch center in Los Angeles. This model is on the Suicide Prevention Best Practices Registry. Up to twelve people participate in each 8-week-session. Participants are asked to commit to the full eight weeks. The group is facilitated by Lori Reasoner, a paraprofessional counselor, and Marcia Epstein, LMSW, a social worker, both with experience with suicide and suicide prevention.