Suicide is a public health problem both nationally and locally. In the U.S., suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death, but it is the eighth-leading cause of death for Douglas County residents and the second-leading cause among those 15-44 years old. In Douglas County, suicide rates have increased 84% between 1993-1997 and 2013-2017.
Where We Are
The suicide rate was 15.6 per 100,000 people in Douglas County from 2013-2017. The rate for males was 25.5 per 100,000 people, and it was 6.2 per 100,000 among females.
Among Douglas County residents:
- Males are 3.5 times more likely to die from suicide, while females are twice as likely to attempt suicide.
- Half of the suicide attempts reported to emergency departments were patients younger than 21.
- Those 10-19 years old had the highest suicide attempt rates and the highest frequency of attempts.
- Half of suicide ideation patients in emergency departments were 27 and younger.
- Elderly men are also a high risk for suicide.
Community Health Plan Goal
By 2023, decrease the age-adjusted suicide rate to 14.0 per 100,000 people in Douglas County, among several other strategies and goals to improve behavioral health for all.
Read more about the goal and the Community Health Plan on the Healthier Together platform.
Prioritizing Preventive Solutions
It is clear that suicide, suicide attempts and suicide ideation occur across the life span. There is continuing need to identify and support people in need and create a protective environment. Elderly men in particular are at risk for suicide, and data in this report identify the level of concern for youth, including the number of suicide attempts and instances of ideation. Risk factors for youth suicide attempts include, rape, bullying victimization, sadness or depression, vomiting or taking laxatives to lose weight, relationship problems and using substances. The Kansas Communities that Care survey data suggest that students who vape or smoke may also be at risk for suicide ideation.
Research has identified that chronic health issues and economic or financial strains, such as difficulty covering medical, food and housing expenses, are possible risk factors for suicide. Lack of social connectedness is also one of the chief causes of suicide. Current efforts to strengthen access and delivery of suicide care will benefit those who have contact with the medical system and will address many prevention strategies, including teaching coping and problem-solving skills.
Finally, preventing suicide and addressing the health care needs of persons at risk for suicidal behavior require public health information-sharing efforts that raise awareness and provide evidence of effective community-wide interventions.
Resources for Help
- Headquarters Counseling Center (785) 841-2345 -
Crisis Text Line: “Kansas” to 741741
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255
- Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center (785) 843-9192