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September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

August 26, 2019

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Sept. 17 is National Physician Suicide Awareness Day.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 41,000 individuals die each year by suicide. The Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors estimates that up to 400 physicians take their own lives per year. While estimates of the actual number of physician suicides vary, the relative risk for suicide is 2.27 times greater among women and 1.41 times higher among men versus the general population.

NPSA Day"As a society and a professional community, it is more important now than ever to foster awareness, reduce stigma and promote a culture of self-care and help-seeking," Nicole Klaus, Ph.D., ABPP, associate professor at KU School of Medicine-Wichita, said about preventing physician suicide.

An initiative launched in 2016 by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Mayo Clinic focused on the prevention of physician and medical trainee suicides.

"We want to be part of a national dialogue that addresses physician well-being and leads to transformational change - to a more humane learning environment for all medical education and a healthier culture for all physicians," said Thomas J. Nasca, M.D., MACP, chief executive officer of ACGME, in a statement.

Throughout the month of September, warning signs, helpful tips and resources shared by various offices and departments at KU School of Medicine-Wichita will be communicated through Jayhawk Talk Online, on our Facebook page and on our Healthy Hawks webpage. This information is pertinent to physicians, resident doctors, medical students, our faculty and staff, and also the public.

Getting help

We can all help prevent suicide. Anyone could be struggling. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free, confidential support and resources for people in distress: 1-800-273-8255, or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. The local 24/7 suicide prevention hotline is 316-660-7500.

KU School of Medicine-Wichita students can access personal counseling resources through the ASA SharePoint site.

Employee Assistance Programs and resources are also available for KUSM-W resident doctors, along with KUSM-W faculty and staff members and Medical Practice Association employees.

Spotting warning signs

Talking or thinking about suicide, feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, self-loathing, withdrawing from others, getting affairs in order, and a sudden sense of calm are some of the warning signs of suicide. Learn more about how to spot warning signs.

Nicole Klaus, Ph.D., ABPP, psychologist and associate professor at KU School of Medicine-Wichita, talks about preventing physician suicide, including warning signs and promoting a culture of self-care in this video:

Additional mental health resources

*American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American Academy of Emergency Medicine/Resident and Student Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, The American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians, The American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians/Resident and Student Organization, Emergency Medicine Residents' Association and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

KU School of Medicine-Wichita
Last modified: Sep 03, 2019
Media Inquiries:

Belinda Venters

KU School of Medicine–Wichita
Public Affairs
1010 N. Kansas
Wichita, KS, 67214

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