Suicide rate on the rise in Sedgwick County

*NOTE: This is a stock photo.
*NOTE: This is a stock photo.(Randy Tisor / Stars and Stripes)
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The suicide rate in Sedgwick County is at its highest rate since data has been tracked, according to information revealed at Wednesday’s county commission meeting.

The rate is 21 per 100,000 people. The rate is rising in most age groups, but the biggest increase is among 15- to 34-year-olds, a rate of 31.7 per 100,000. Male deaths by suicide are higher than those of girls and women, data that matches national trends. Boys and men made up 84 percent of suicide deaths in Sedgwick County last year.

All Wichita Police trained in evidence based suicide screening approach, with 29 classes taught in mental health first aid. Additionally, the Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas and Mirror Inc received Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) grants to fully implement Zero Suicide practices. The commission mentioned services such as 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and Comcare of Sedgwick County. Comcare answered more than 47,000 crisis calls in 2022.

The commission encouraged citizens to know the signs of potentially suicidal people, including talk that they have no reason to live, that they’re feeling trapped or like a burden to others. Also watch for increased alcohol and/or drug use, isolation from family friends, sleeping too much or too little, withdrawing from activities, seeking access tot pills/weapons. Mood factors such as depression, loss of interest, rage, irritability, humiliation and anxiety are also signs of a person who may be contemplating suicide.