LAWRENCE – (September 8, 2022) – Kansas Attorney General Schmidt announced today the launch of a mobile app, as a new tool to prevent youth suicide by providing information about warning signs and direct access to help for youth in Kansas. Schmidt made the announcement this morning at the Kansas Suicide Prevention Headquarters Breakfast for Hope in Lawrence, coinciding with National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, National Suicide Prevention Week and Saturday’s upcoming observance of World Suicide Prevention Day.
The free app, called “Kansas – A Friend AsKS,” was developed in partnership with The Jason Foundation, a national suicide prevention organization, and can be found in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. The app connects youth to tools and resources to help a friend, or themselves, who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide. The app also offers the option for users to call or text the 988 mental health crisis line, which was launched in Kansas in July.
“The need for prevention is larger than ever, as we see suicide as a leading cause of preventable death in the United States and in Kansas,” Schmidt said. “I applaud the efforts of all who are working in the area of suicide prevention, and we are proud to be adding this new tool to the toolbox of prevention measures available in our state.”
The State Child Death Review Board reported, in the most recent data available, that in 2019, 28 children in Kansas between the ages of 10-17 died by suicide. Between the years of 2015 and 2018, suicide deaths for Kansas youth, ages 10-17, increased by 70%. This disturbing trend led Schmidt, along with the Tower Mental Health Foundation, to form a Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force in spring 2018. In 2019, the Task Force issued a report, which among other recommendations, included the recommendation of creating a youth-focused app that would connect Kansas youth to critical resources and information, as well as creating the position of Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator within the Office of the Attorney General. The position has focused on the coordination of multidisciplinary and interagency strategies to help communities, schools, and professionals to synchronize efforts to prevent and address youth suicide.
If you or a loved one is contemplating suicide, please connect with the Kansas suicide and crisis lifeline by dialing or texting 9-8-8, in order to be connected with a trained crisis counselor who can provide support.
More information about the attorney general’s youth suicide prevention efforts and links to download the app are available at https://ag.ks.gov/asKS. To learn more about the Jason Foundation visit https://jasonfoundation.com. App artwork is available at https://bit.ly/3qkIzNp.