Youth suicide is a preventable public health concern and requires a public, behavioral health approach to prevention efforts. Individuals, families, and whole communities are affected when someone dies by suicide. Suicide is complex, multi-faceted, and emotionally and financially costly. Partners in the State of Kansas are committed to addressing suicide prevention using a comprehensive public health approach to lead efforts toward reducing suicide morbidity and mortality, with special attention to vulnerable populations with suicide rates greater than the general population. In late spring of 2018, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, in response to an increasing youth suicide rate and in cooperation with the Tower Mental Health Foundation, created the Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force.
In May 2019, the Legislature passed House Bill 2290, which created the Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator in the Attorney General's office and requires the coordinator to:
- Lead the development, implementation and marketing of a website, online application and mobile phone application to facilitate communication with youth for the purpose of preventing youth suicide and promoting youth safety and well-being.
- Develop and promote multidisciplinary and interagency strategies to help communities, schools, mental health professionals, medical professionals, law enforcement and others work together and coordinate efforts to prevent and address youth suicide.
- Organize events that bring together youth, educators and community members from across the state to share information and receive training to prevent and address youth suicide in their communities.
- Gather, disseminate and promote information focused on suicide reduction.