One person dies by suicide every 13.7 minutes in the United States. It's a number the Harvey County Suicide Prevention Coalition would like to see drop to zero.
Kim Manring, a member of the coalition, made a presentation about suicide prevention during Monday's Harvey County Commission meeting and asked commissioners to sign a proclamation recognizing National Suicide Prevention Week Sept. 1-8.
County Administrator John Waltner praised the work of the coalition and their work in the community to prevent suicide.
"Public awareness simply needs to be raised significantly, and this group has been doing that," he said.
The Harvey County Suicide Prevention Coalition was formed in November 2010 and is comprised of representatives of law enforcement, the medical community, mental health organizations, the faith community, and others. Their goal is to reduce the frequency of suicide attempts and deaths, offer educational and intervention services, and provide comfort for those who have lost loved ones due to suicide.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds in the United States and the 10th leading cause of death for people of all ages.
Manring reported 384 Kansas died by suicide in 2011, more than one every day, and in 2012, five people died by suicide in Harvey County. As of July 15 this year, the county had one confirmed suicide, and Manring hopes this decreasing trend continues.
"We've been making a difference," she said of the coalition.
She said the organization also wants to raise awareness about the impact of suicide on those who know the victim. Each person's death by suicide affects at least six other people.
"It's amazing the trickle-down effect," she said.
The Suicide Prevention Hotline is (800) 273-8255.