The Douglas County Suicide Prevention Coalition will host a screening of “The Listeners,” a documentary that follows new volunteers at Lawrence-based Headquarters Counseling Center. The screening will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 1 in the Lawrence Public Library auditorium, 707 Vermont. The event is being held in recognition of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
“The Listeners” explores the role of crisis phone lines in mental health care and the people, often volunteers, who answer calls. After the screening, there will be a question-and-answer panel discussion with crisis line volunteers. The discussion will be followed by a candlelight vigil on the library lawn for those who have lost loved ones to suicide, those who have lived through a suicide attempt and for those who continue to struggle.
“This is a great opportunity for people to learn about ongoing suicide prevention efforts in the community and to discover how we can all play a role in ending suicide,” Chris Maxwell, chair of Douglas County Suicide Prevention Coalition, said.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and Kansas. Between 2012 and 2014, 1,386 Kansas residents died by suicide, 49 of whom were Douglas County residents, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. In 2014, one Kansan died by suicide each day. Research suggests that for every death by suicide, there are between 100 and 200 suicide attempts.
The Douglas County Suicide Prevention Coalition was formed in 2014. Its efforts include educating the public about suicide and suicide prevention, offering resources and training to residents and collecting data to identify individuals at risk. The goal is to reduce the number of suicide deaths and attempts in Douglas County.
The coalition’s members include representatives from organizations across the county. They include: Headquarters Inc., Health Care Access, Lawrence Public Schools, The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center, The Willow Domestic Violence Center, Communities in School of Mid-America, Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, Active Minds at the University of Kansas and Douglas County Senior Services.
The warning signs that someone might be suicidal include:
• Threatening to hurt or kill oneself.
• Looking for ways to kill oneself such as seeking access to pills, weapons or other means.
• 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 START to 741741.