Increase in mental health-related calls: Wichita police chief weighs in on calls during pandemic

Coronavirus in Kansas
Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay_486664

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Chief Gordon Ramsay with the Wichita Police Department shared some facts and figures Wednesday as Wichita goes through the COVID-19 crisis.

Chief Ramsay said WPD saw an increase in mental health-related calls since the pandemic started — the year-to-date number for suicides are at 22 this year compared to 15 during the same time last year.

“That is a concern, and obviously, it has us worried. I can tell you I worked Friday recently, and the first three calls I went on were mental health-related, actually, they were all suicide attempts,” Chief Ramsay said.

“The first one was a woman near retirement age. She lost her job, her car had been repossessed, she was going to have to declare bankruptcy, and she had breast cancer. It was just one thing after another,” Chief Ramsay said. “It was really a sad call, and she needed help. Fortunately, we got there in time and were able to get her the help she needed.”

Chief Ramsay shared that reports of child abuse were down, but he attributed that to a lack of reporting, not due to a decrease in child abuse.

“Because kids are not in school they are not seeing doctors, the mandatory reporters are not getting the regular contact of our abused kids,” he said.

Chief Ramsay added that WPD also saw an increase in homicides, which currently stands at 19 and is up from last year. Meth and drugs are often the common connect behind the homicides, he added. He asked anyone who sees or suspects any child abuse incident, to report it to 911 or the Department of Children and Families.

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