Suicide: The Silent Epidemic
Our Cover Story this week focuses on Suicide: The Silent Epidemic. All Thursday morning on Kansas City's Morning News with E.J. & Ellen we're featuring stories of loss and survival, providing resources to help, and looking in-depth into what's causing the rise in suicides in America.
GET HELP NOW
Crisis Text Line - Text HOME to 741741
Suicide Prevention Lifeline - links to additional crisis services and hotlines - Available 24/7 - 1-800-273-8255
Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio - 1-888-628-9454
Veteran & Military Crisis Line - for families too!
SOCIAL MEDIA & SUICIDE
Data from the National Institutes of Health shows victims of cyberbullying were almost two times as likely to attempt suicide than those who were not.
According to clinical psychologist Dr. Ben Michaelis social media can amplify the issues, can cause copycat suicides, and can become whats known as a contagion.
Yet about social media, Michaelis says "it's too early to say that it's good or bad, definitely having a major impact no question about it." And that's because social media can also provide the resources and tools to get help like the crisis text line at 741741.
"There's tons of active rescues because of places that are using the tech for good," said Michaelis.
Family members and friends are often left wondering why and shouldering blame over the suicide of a loved one. Tom Phillips with Suicide Awareness Survivors Support of Missouri and Kansas lost his older brother in 2011: "Though I had not seen him in a couple of years, I was convinced I was somehow responsible."
To get support and connect with survivors:
Kansas City Metro: sass-mokan.com/UnitingSurvivors/
POLICE & SUICIDE
More police departments are relying on Crisis Intervention Training to deal with those who are suicidal or mentally ill, like Overland Park, Kansas.
More than 1,000 officers are now trained in crisis intervention. They often work with a mental health co-responder on-scene. Social worker Megan Younger has handled more than 2,500 calls the past three years.
Younger says the collaborative program helps to reduce suicides, leads to fewer arrests and provides more with assistance from Johnson County mental health. Her position is funded through a grant.