TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced Tuesday they been awarded a grant to support safer suicide care in behavioral health and healthcare systems in Kansas. The grant, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is for implementation of Zero Suicide in Health Systems.
Zero Suicide is a model and framework that believes suicide deaths for individuals under the care of health and behavioral health systems are preventable. For systems dedicated to improving patient safety, Zero Suicide presents a framework for system-wide transformation toward safer suicide care.
KDHE will work with key partners across the state, including Veterans Affairs and the 26 licensed Community Mental Health Care Systems that have more than 4,500 staff providing mental health services in every county (120+ locations) to more than 140,000 Kansans annually. Besides the policies, protocols and practices the Zero Suicide model supports, objectives include providing evidence-based trainings and practices to support a prepared, competent and confident mental health workforce and coordinated suicide prevention efforts across the state. This award will bring $700,000 per year for five years.
Suicide is a serious public health problem that has far-reaching medical, economical and psychosocial implications for Kansas. Between 1999 and 2018, the rate of suicide deaths in Kansas increased 70% from 11.3 to 19.2 per 100,000 persons. The 2018 suicide rate was the highest in the last 20 years & is higher than the national rate (14.2 per 100,000 persons) which increased 35% during the same time period. In 2018, suicide was the 9th leading cause of death among all ages and the second leading cause of death following unintentional injuries for those age 15-34 years in Kansas.
From 2016 to 2018, emergency department visits and hospitalization rates increased for suicide ideation-related injuries.