The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is issuing an alert to Health Care providers to raise awareness of a recent increase in emergency department visits for suicide attempts among females and to encourage providers to use evidence-based suicide prevention resources and practices.
The Kansas Syndromic Surveillance Program (KSSP) monitors emergency department (ED) data in near real-time. KSSP is currently capturing over 98% of total ED visits within 72 hours of the visit itself.
During routine surveillance of emergency department visit (EDV) data, KDHE detected a spike for suicide attempts among female patients in July 2023. A spike alert identifies when the number of emergency department visits for suicide attempts is at a level greater than two standard deviations above the previous three-month average.
In the month of July 2023, 162 suicide-related events occurred in Kansas among females. This is greater than two standard deviations above the previous 3-month mean of 126.7 (Table 1).
July had the highest number of female suicide attempt ED visits for 2023 thus far, and was higher than all other years for the same month (Figure 1). There was a 37.3% increase in female suicide attempt EDVs compared to June.
When looking at trends by age group using the spike detection parameters, females ages 19-44 years had significant spikes (Table 3).
Mechanism of injury could be extracted for 83.3% of female suicide attempt visits. Nearly 60% of females presented to the ED for poisoning or overdose (Table 4).
KDHE is urging healthcare providers to become familiar with warning signs for suicide, suicide prevention practices, and community resources.
There are a number of resources available throughout the state of Kansas and nationally for suicide prevention:
- Individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts can call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat at Lifeline Chat
- The National Maternal Health Hotline (1-833-852-6262) provides free, 24/7 support before, during and after pregnancy for new moms who may feel overwhelmed, sad, anxious or exhausted. For more information, visit: mchb.hrsa.gov/national-maternal-mental-health-hotline
- Find your local community mental health center for local resources and locations to refer patients when suicide risk is detected: acmhck.org/resources/cmhc-map/
The Kansas Perinatal Access line offers free provider-to-provider behavioral health care consulation, training, and care coordination for all Kansas physicians serving pregnant or postpartum women: kansasmch.org/psychiatric-consultation-care-coordination.asp