Youth suicide is a preventable public health concern and requires a public, behavioral health approach to prevention efforts. Individuals, families, and whole communities are affected when someone dies by suicide. Suicide is complex, multi-faceted, and emotionally and financially costly. Partners in the State of Kansas are committed to addressing suicide prevention using a comprehensive public health approach to lead efforts toward reducing suicide morbidity and mortality, with special attention to vulnerable populations with suicide rates greater than the general population.
A free mobile app, called “Kansas – A Friend AsKS,” has been 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.
In late spring of 2018, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, in response to an increasing youth suicide rate and in cooperation with the Tower Mental Health Foundation, created the Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, which recommended the creation of a Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator within the Office of the Attorney General.
In May 2019, the Legislature passed House Bill 2290, which created the position and requires the coordinator to:
- Lead the development, implementation and marketing of a website, online application and mobile phone application to facilitate communication with youth for the purpose of preventing youth suicide and promoting youth safety and well-being.
- Develop and promote multidisciplinary and interagency strategies to help communities, schools, mental health professionals, medical professionals, law enforcement and others work together and coordinate efforts to prevent and address youth suicide.
- Organize events that bring together youth, educators and community members from across the state to share information and receive training to prevent and address youth suicide in their communities.
- Gather, disseminate and promote information focused on suicide reduction.
Please refer to the information and links below to contact the coordinator or request a presentation for your group.