The number of suicide deaths in Sedgwick County spiked last year, especially among young adults.
There were 91 suicide deaths in 2016, up from 68 the year before, according to the latest report from the Sedgwick County Suicide Prevention Coalition. That’s a rate of 17.9 deaths per 100 thousand residents.
“That's the highest rate on record since we started tracking these data 16 years ago," said Nicole Klaus, a psychologist at the KU School of Medicine and a member of the suicide prevention coalition who presented the report to Sedgwick County commissioners Wednesday.
Klaus says the suicide rate in Sedgwick County is “significantly higher” than national trends. The rate among young adults, ages 25 to 34, rose especially sharply -- up to about 35 per 100,000 -- but Klaus said they can’t pinpoint a particular reason why.
“Over the time period that we’ve seen this increase, I wonder if economic issues have affected this age group in particular ways, but it’s kind of hard to tell," she said.
She said there are ways to help prevent suicide, however.
“One of the things we can all do to prevent suicide is to be aware of warning signs for suicide," Klaus said. "Take it seriously, and know the local resources to get help.”
Sedgwick County has a 24-hour hotline (316-660-7500) and Community Crisis Center to help anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts. More resources can be found on Sedgwick County's website.
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