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September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September 04, 2018

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and 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. 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

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 this statement.

More recently, a collaborative effort has been made by a number of medical organizations* to initiate the first National Physician Suicide Awareness Day on Sept. 17.

"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.

Throughout this month, warning signs, helpful tips and resources shared by various offices and departments at KUSM-W 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.

Spotting warning signs

Talking our 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

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.

*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

Last modified: Sep 17, 2018
Media Inquiries:

Belinda Venters

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

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