The Douglas County Suicide Prevention Coalition is hosting a screening of The S Word, a new documentary addressing suicide, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, in the Kansas Union’s Woodruff Auditorium on the University of Kansas campus. The 90-minute film puts a human face on this often feared and misunderstood topic, delving into the hearts and minds of suicide attempt survivors, along with their families and loved ones. The event is free and open to the public. The documentary is geared toward residents, ages 15 and older.
Filmmaker Lisa Klein lost both her brother and father to suicide, compelling her to create the film. “There is no more highly charged personal issue for me. That’s the reason I was driven to document it and open a much-needed conversation. It is time for us to boldly talk about suicide because no family should have to experience this,” Klein said. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Klein.
“Our goal is to open the conversation about suicide, reduce the shame and silence that have clung to suicide for far too long, and strive toward prevention of suicide,” said Anna Barger, Chair of the Douglas County Suicide Prevention Coalition. “By working together and talking about it, we can all help prevent suicide.”
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and Kansas. Between 2014 and 2016, 1,443 Kansas residents died by suicide, 53 of whom were Douglas County residents, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Douglas County residents, ages 15-44. Research suggests that for every death by suicide, there are between 100 and 200 suicide attempts.
“I’m actively involved in the Douglas County Suicide Prevention Coalition because suicide is the second leading cause of death in the college-age population,” said Jane Faubion, Coordinator of the KU Suicide Prevention Project. “In 2015 at KU, 9 percent of the student population had seriously considered suicide and 1 percent attempted suicide — that’s about 250 students — half of Woodruff Auditorium. Talking about suicide without shame or judgement and normalizing help-seeking behavior are critical life skills for college students to learn.”
The warning signs that someone might be suicidal include:
- Threatening to hurt or kill oneself.
- Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide.
- Talking about hopelessness.
- Showing rage, anger or seeking revenge.
- Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities such as drinking and driving.
- Withdrawing from friends, family or society.
For help, the following resources are available 24/7:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — 1-800-273-8255.
- Headquarters Counseling Center — 785-841-2345.
- Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center — 785-843-9192.
- Crisis Text Line — Text HOME to 741741.
About the Douglas County Suicide Prevention Coalition
The Coalition was formed in 2014. Its efforts include educating the public about suicide and suicide prevention and offering resources and training to residents. The goal is to reduce the number of suicide deaths and attempts in Douglas County. The coalition’s members represent organizations across the county. They include: Headquarters Counseling Center, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Lawrence Public Schools, The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center, The Willow Domestic Violence Center, Communities in Schools of Mid-America, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, KU Active Minds and Lawrence Police Department.