The Importance of Hope During Suicide Prevention Month

September 12, 2022

Late last month, the suicide death of a young Wisconsin news anchor made headlines. Neena Pacholke was just 27 years old. Tragically, suicide continues to claim too many lives.

In Kansas, someone dies by suicide every 16 hours, according to Kansas Suicide Prevention Headquarters (KSPHQ). Suicide was the 9th leading cause of death in Kansas in 2019.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. And this year, there is a new resource available to aid in suicide prevention efforts: the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. The new 3-digit number means that life-saving support and resources are more accessible than ever when seconds matter.

988 has been active nationwide since July 16. In the Lifeline’s first full month, it saw a 45 percent increase in the number of calls, texts and chats compared to August 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to 988’s launch in Kansas, Wyandotte County had the highest number of calls to the state’s suicide hotline.

The most important thing to know during Suicide Prevention Month is that there is hope. And we can all be that beacon of hope for someone who is struggling with thoughts of suicide. There are small things we can all do to help prevent suicide. It can be as easy as having the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or your local crisis number saved in your phone. If you are worried that someone you know may be thinking about suicide, the best thing you can do is to ask directly if they are thinking about suicide. This will not put the idea in their head. But it will open that line of communication and let them know that you care about them.

During Suicide Prevention Month, I encourage you to learn the warning signs of suicide and research the mental health resources that are available in your community. Together, we can prevent suicide.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, help is available 24/7. You can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 9-8-8 or chatting online at Wyandot BHN’s 24/7 crisis line is available by calling 913-788-4200.