Letter from Robbin Cole, Pawnee Mental Health Services Executive Director

Robbin Cole, Executive Director

Robbin Cole, Executive Director

September 7-13 is National Suicide Prevention Week.  September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day.  It is estimated that over 800,000 people die of suicide each year world-wide. 41,149 people (13 per 100,000) died of suicide in the United States in 2013, making suicide the 10th leading cause of all deaths in our nation.

Kansas statistics mirror national numbers.  Four hundred twenty five (425) people (14.7 per 100,000) died of suicide in Kansas in 2013, making suicide is the 10th leading cause of all deaths in our state.

Suicide is a complex issue with psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors involved.  The strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt.

Mental illness is generally associated with suicide.  It is estimated that more than 90% of all people who die of suicide have a significant mental illness at the time of their death.  These illnesses are often undiagnosed, untreated or both.  When both substance use and mental disorders are present, the risk for suicide is even greater.

It is estimated that at least six additional people (survivors of suicide) are personally affected each time someone dies of suicide, averaging nearly 250,000 people in the United States annually.   The grief that follows the suicide of someone close can be intense, complex and long lasting.

Suicide is a public health concern.  Suicide prevention must be a priority.  Reducing the stigma associated with receiving treatment for mental health and substance use disorders is a place to start.   Mental illnesses and substance use disorders are treatable. Suicide is preventable.

Reaching out and offering support to people who are struggling can be a life-saving act.  Linking people to relevant professional services to ensure appropriate care and follow-up is an important aspect of reaching out.  Reaching out to persons bereaved by a suicide is of equal importance and can also provide a lifeline for them.   The American Association of Suicidology offers a variety of resources and programs at www.suicidology.org or

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact your personal physician or mental health practitioner, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Pawnee Mental Health Services at
1-785-587-4300 (Manhattan) or 1-800-609-2002. Hope is waiting. Help is here.

Robbin Cole

Executive Director

Pawnee Mental Health Services

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