Funding key to decreasing suicide rates in Kansas, Missouri - KCTV5 News

Funding key to decreasing suicide rates in Kansas, Missouri

Posted: Updated:
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Suicide is a growing problem in both Kansas and Missouri.

During the past 17 years, the suicide rate in Missouri went up about 36 percent and in Kansas it went up 45 percent. Both outpaced the national increase, which itself is hard to swallow, at just over 25 percent.

The problem is that part of the solution involves money and funding education programs.

That money is hard to come by.

KCTV5 News spoke with the director of the Kansas Suicide Prevention Center who said it operates on a “shoestring” budget

They have an annual budget of about $350,000 for the entire state and their three – yes, three – employees.

In 2015, the state lost a significant amount of money from a 2-year federal grant, forcing it to cut three employees.

Replacing that funding just hasn’t happened.

The director said that funding is particularly important to suicide prevention education in more rural areas of the state where the suicide rate is much higher. 

In Missouri, the state has also struggled with funding for suicide prevention.

Between 2007 to 2012, there were dramatic cuts to mental health funding. During that time, the suicide rate went up 13 percent.

The state is now working with more funding and recently received federal grant money to fund education, programs, and hotlines for two years. However, that will also expire like it did in Kansas and replacing that funding could be challenging.

The intentions are there, however.

Kansas, for example, put together a rather thorough suicide prevention plan a few years ago, but the director of the Kansas Suicide Prevention Center said she’s seen hardly any of that plan actually happen.

It’s one thing to make a PowerPoint presentation and another to fund those ideas.

According to the Missouri Department of Mental Health, there are no general revenue funds appropriated by the state for suicide prevention.

There is that Youth Suicide Prevention grant, that is federal, which is being implemented in the Kansas City area. The grant provides $736,000 each year, for 5 years.

It works to prevent youth suicide through school, hospital, and community mental health center collaborations (e.g. ReDiscover and Tri-County Mental Health Services).

The grant is used to improve the system of care for at-risk youth, improve the capacity of schools to “identify, respond, and refer,” and strengthen overall suicide prevention efforts.

Through the grant, Missouri’s Department of Mental Health has been able to offer Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk (AMSR) and Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training across the state.

If you are in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, or know someone who might be, you can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Related coverage:

Anthony Bourdain's death highlights local resources for those struggling in KC

Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. 

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