WICHITA (AP) -- The number of suicides reported in Kansas rose to 505 in 2012, a 30 percent increase in the number of suicides in 2011, according to recently released state data.
New state numbers show that suicides reported in Kansas rose to 505 in 2012, a 30 percent increase in the number of suicides in Kansas in 2011, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/16ozXn4 ). The figures from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment also show the most common method of suicide by Kansans is firearms, followed by suffocation and poisoning.
"One year does not make a trend, and hopefully we will not have the same repeat next year," said Liz McGinness, a member of the Sedgwick County Suicide Prevention Coalition.
In Kansas, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 24 and for those between 25 and 44 years old, after unintentional injuries, according to the data. Johnson County had the most suicides in 2012 with 92. Sedgwick County had the second highest, with 88.
In 2012, Johnson County the most suicides with 92, while Sedgwick County had the second highest with 88 suicides.
Some public funding for mental health has decreased while the suicide numbers increase.
The community mental health center in Sedgwick County, for example, has lost 53 percent of its state funding since 2009, said Marilyn Cook, executive director of Comcare of Sedgwick County. She said the county is trying to appeal to the state to replace some of that money.
"This is a community problem and a public health problem, not just a mental health problem," Cook said. "Treatment dollars have gone down and more and more people are coming to us, a growing number without any other payment for services."
In 2012, Sedgwick County 911 dispatch received more than 2,400 calls related to suicide threats or attempts, according to the Sedgwick County Suicide Prevention Coalition.
"We wonder if the economy is part of it, the number of people struggling with job loss," Cook said. "But we don't have any clear answers."