Suicide deaths reach a record high in Sedgwick County

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Local leaders say the number of suicides in Sedgwick County is reaching epidemic levels. 

According to the Sedgwick County Suicide Prevention Coalition, the number of people who died by suicide in Sedgwick County last year was 96, five more than the year before.  

Even more disturbing, the state falls above the national average for suicides per capita.

"The fact that it is continuing to increase and has hit another record high is concerning," said Dr. Nicole Klaus, psychologist at the KU School of Medicine-Wichita.

This new report says more men than women are likely to die by suicides in Sedgwick County, and for the first time since the county started tracking this information, we now know teens and young adults usually die by suicide because of relationship problems, physical health problems for older adults.

"Our mental health system across the country is struggling and that's certainly the case here," Dr. Klaus said.

Nicole Fenoglio's is hoping to put a dent in those numbers. She runs the group Stop Suicide ICT. She teaches people who are worried about their loved one or friends, how to spot the warning signs and how to intervene. 

"We offer education and training so that people are more comfortable with checking on people," Fenoglio said.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts call the 24/7 Suicide Prevention line at 316-660-7500 or text 741-741.

A list of events coming up this month:

VA Mental Health Summit, September 14, 2018, 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: 5500 E Kellogg Ave, Wichita Ks. - Medical Center Auditorium - 1st Floor of Building 4. 

AFSP Out of Darkness Walk - September 15, 2018  Hyatt Waterwalk 
Check-in/Registration Time: 10:30 am
Walk Begins: 12:00 pm
Walk Ends: 2:00 pm

Free Suicide Prevention Training – September 22, 2018 – 10am-11:30am – Downtown YMCA

Survivors of Suicide Day – November 17, 2018