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Aug. 10, 2012
LAWRENCE Headquarters Counseling Center, which is based in Lawrence, has been awarded a federal grant to launch a statewide initiative aimed at reducing the number of attempted suicides and deaths.
“This grant will save lives,” predicted the center’s director, Marcia Epstein. “That’s what it’s all about.”
The three-year grant is for $480,000.
Epstein said the grant wouldl be used to start a youth suicide prevention resource center and website, expand and strengthen regional suicide-prevention efforts and train mental and physical health care professionals to recognize and respond to suicide risks.
“By making more information available and by promoting a better understanding of what’s known to be best practice, we seriously believe this is going to help us reduce number of deaths and attempts by suicide in Kansas,” she said. “Until the awarding of this grant, Kansas had no dedicated resource for suicide prevention, so this is really exciting.”
According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s latest Annual Summary of Vital Statistics, Kansas recorded 409 suicides in 2010, involving 319 males and 90 females.
Suicide was the second leading cause of death among Kansans between the ages of 15 and 44 and the sixth leading cause of death for those between ages 45 and 64.
The initiative will focus on 10- to 24-year-olds, Epstein said.
“That’s quite a range,” Epstein said. “That includes military vets and young children – two very different groups, obviously.”
The grant was awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.