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A spike in suicides leaves mental health officials concerned

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County has seen a jump in suicides. Last year, there were a total of 96 suicides in the county, but in the last two and a half weeks, there have been nine, which is 10 percent of last year. Mental Health officials said those numbers are a concern. First, it was the pandemic.

“What’s going to happen and are they safe to go certain places,” said Brittani May, Wichita Crisis Center program manager

Now, civil unrest in the nation.

“The constant stress that’s not letting up,” said Nancy Ross, mental health advocated.

The stress is what mental health officials said is a potential contributor to the peak in suicides.

“How that will continue to affect the community and how that will affect the suicide rates, we feel we will probably be a large jump compared to years past,” said May.

The Wichita Crisis Center has seen fewer people coming through their doors and of those who do the symptoms are more extreme.

As someone who battles mental health, Nancy Ross said it hasn’t been easy.

“Stressors can trigger, increase symptoms and you can see how this snowballs because then you start worrying about that too,” said Ross.

Ross suggested, for those who are battling the stress, to go for walks, call a friend, and reach out for help.

Wichita Crisis Center is hoping to use the COVID-19 funding towards suicide prevention.

More information can be found here if you need help.

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