OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -- Doctors in Johnson County are trying to slow the growing number of teen suicides.
On Monday, The University of Kansas Health System is opening a new program for kids ages 12 to 17 with suicidal thoughts. Doctors and counselors will open the 32-bed InSights unit at the Marillac campus in Overland Park.
In addition to traditional and group therapy, patients will participate in art, music, drama and recreation therapies.
Experts say kids who won’t normally talk about issues will open up when they’re doing something active. This program is an effort to reduce the number of non-accidental deaths.
Fifteen kids died by suicide in Johnson County during the 2018-2019 school year.
Emily Snow, the director behavioral health and psychiatric operations, says parents should check in with their kids, at any age, to look for signs of suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
“A lot of kids tend to become very quiet, they quit extracurricular activities, they sometimes withdraw from their family. They may withdraw from their friends. They might, some of the kids who are more extroverted might post something on their social media page. It just depends on each child,” she said.
For any teen struggling with thoughts of suicide or feelings of helplessness, doctors at the Marillac campus will provide a free mental health assessment. They can then connect them with the right resources.