Suicide awareness forum to be held today

TOPEKA — A public forum on suicide awareness will be hosted Friday by Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Shawn Sullivan and Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Robert Moser.

The forum is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. at Memorial Hall, 120 S.W. 10th Ave.

Other forum participants:

  • Marcia Epstein, program director with Kansas Youth Suicide Prevention Services and director of Headquarters Counseling Center, Lawrence;
  • Maj. John Potter, chaplain with the Kansas Army National Guard;
  • Wes Cole, chair of the Governor’s Behavioral Health Services Planning Council; and
  • Representatives from more than 10 community-based suicide prevention programs in Kansas.

According to the latest data on KDHE’s website, Kansas recorded 384 suicides in 2011.

Sixty-one percent of the deaths involved a firearm. Half of the victims were ages 45 and older; 80 percent were male, 92 percent were Caucasian.

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