Youth suicide in Kansas increased by more than 50% in one year

The number of suicides among Kansas children increased by more than 50% from 2016 to 2017, according to a report released Wednesday from the Kansas State Child Death Review Board.

In 2017, 32 Kansas children died by suicide, an increase from 20 in 2016. One decade ago, the youth suicide rate was 1.3 per 10,000. In 2017, the rate was 4.5 per 10,000.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt called the increase “alarming.”

Get help

If you are thinking about suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 800-273-8255 (veterans, press 1) or, in Lawrence, 785-841-2345.

Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center also has a 24-hour hotline at 785-843-9192.

More resources are available at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s website.

“I appreciate the dedicated work of the State Child Death Review Board in compiling this information to help inform policymakers on steps to help prevent deaths of Kansas children,” he said in a press release. The 2019 report analyzes all youth deaths that occurred in 2017, the most recent year from which data is available.

Of the 32 children who died by suicide in 2017, seven were 14 years old or younger, the report said. Eighteen of those children were male, and 14 were female. About 78% of the children had talked about suicide before completing it, and 66% were receiving or had previously received mental health services.

“Every time a child takes his or her own life it is heartbreaking, and this report underscores the need to collectively address the pain Kansas youth, families and communities are feeling,” Kansas Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator Gina Meier-Hummel said.

In Douglas County, a 2019 briefing from the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department showed that suicide rates overall have increased by 84% since 1993. From 2013 to 2017, the suicide rate was 15.6 per 100,000 people.

More Douglas County suicide statistics, from the local health department:

• Those 10 to 19 years old had the highest suicide attempt rates.

• Men were 3.5 times more likely to die from suicide than women, but women were twice as likely as men to attempt suicide.

• Among 15- to 44-year-olds in Douglas County, suicide was the second leading cause of death.

• For those over 30 years old, men have higher suicide ideation rates than women. Under 30 years old, women have higher suicide ideation rates than men.

• From 2008 to 2017, half of the people who died from suicide were under 45 years old.

• From 2008 to 2017, 81.6% of Douglas County residents who died of suicide were from Lawrence. 8.6% were from Baldwin and 5.9% were from Eudora.


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