Sedgwick County suicide rates hit all-time high in 2018

WICHITA, Kan. - Suicides reached an all-time high in Sedgwick County in 2018.

Both talk therapy and medications can be effective for reducing the risk of suicide. (photo: MGN)

The county reported 101 suicide deaths in that year.

The Sedgwick County Suicide Prevention Coalition says across the nation, suicides increased 24% since 2001. In Sedgwick County, suicides increased 76% in the same time.

The prevention coalition presented its research to Sedgwick County Commissioners to help the county decide what resources it needs.

Dr. Nicole Klaus says the data in Sedgwick County helps the community know what the needs are specifically. Dr. Klaus says what works for other communities might not work in Wichita.

She says suicides increased for all ages 25-64. Suicide by firearm doubled in the last four years. Dr. Klaus says the biggest stressor was relationships, whether it was romantic relationships, family, or friends. Sixty percent has a history of mental illness and 50% had a history of suicidal thoughts and previous attempts.

Dr. Klaus says now that the commission has the data, it can decide what interventions it wants to implement for the demographics at the highest risk.

"They are disappointed that the numbers continue to rise and always express their support for anything that they can do to reduce rates locally," Dr. Klaus says.

Sedgwick County has a few events for suicide prevention. The Out of the Darkness Walk is Saturday, September 21st from 10 a.m. to noon.

The county also holds mental health first aid classes about once per month. The class costs $40. The county's website says call 316-660-7706 to enroll.