TOPEKA – (July 6, 2023) – Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach today announced a significant update to the Kansas – A Friend AsKS youth suicide prevention app that makes the resource available in Spanish.
The app was released in September 2022 and was developed in partnership with The Jason Foundation, a national suicide prevention organization. The app is available for free in both the Apple and Google Play Stores.
“When we released the English language app for young people, mental health counselors, school administrators, and law enforcement, I quickly learned that a Spanish translation should be the next step. Now Spanish and English-speaking families have these resources available that, along with other things we are doing in Kansas, will help prevent suicide,” said Laura Moore, Kansas Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator.
Kansas – A Friend AsKS is designed to be a resource for youth who are personally dealing with a mental health crisis or helping their friend walk through a mental health issue. The app provides information about suicide warning signs, gives suggestions for how to communicate about and discuss suicide with a friend as well as what NOT to say when supporting a friend during a mental health crisis.
A valuable asset in the app is the direct link to 988. Users can directly connect to the national suicide and crisis lifeline through the app. With the Spanish translation update, now all of the valuable resources are available to users in both Spanish and English.
The need for such resources has never been more evident, as both youth and young adult completed suicide numbers in Kansas continue to be at an all-time high.
- Suicide was the second leading cause of death for Kansas early adolescents age 10-14 and youths age 15-24 in 2016-2020. Source - Kansas Health Institute
- 2020- 26 suicide deaths, eight of which were age 14 or younger. 22 were male, four were female. Source -2022 State Child Death Review Board annual report
- The rate of suicide deaths in the 15-17 age category more than doubled between 2016 and 2017 and has remained high the past three reported years. Source - 2022 State Child Death Review Board annual report
- In addition to the number of youth that die by suicide, many more across Kansas struggle with suicidal thoughts and/or attempts. In 2019, there were 6,170 Hospital Admissions for Suicidal Ideation for Kansans aged 10-18 years. Suicide ideation, attempt and completion rates have each increased in our state. Source – Kansas Department of Health and Environment
If you or a loved one is contemplating suicide or dealing with a mental health crisis, please connect with the suicide and crisis lifeline through the Kansas – A Friend AsKS app or by dialing or texting 988.
The Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator was established in the Office of the Attorney General following the recommendation of the Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force. The position was created by statute in 2019 to identify, create, coordinate and support suicide awareness and prevention efforts throughout Kansas.
The coordinator develops and promotes multidisciplinary and interagency strategies to help communities, schools, mental health professionals, medical professionals, law enforcement, and others work together to prevent and address youth suicide. Development of the A Friend AsKS is a key part of the overall strategy.
More information about the Office of the Attorney General’s youth suicide prevention efforts and links to download the app are available at https://ag.ks.gov/asKS. To learn more about the Jason Foundation visit https://jasonfoundation.com.