Suicide: The Silent Epidemic

A KMBZ Cover Story

April 19, 2017 - 6:26 pm

Our Cover Story this week - Suicide: The Silent Epidemic. Featuring stories of loss and survival, providing resources to help, and looking in-depth at what's causing the rise of suicides in America.


We've condensed the stories from this morning's show into a short podcast. Take a listen if you missed it, or would like to listen again.



Crisis Text Line - Text HOME to 741741

Now Matters Now 

Suicide Prevention Lifeline - links to additional crisis services and hotlines - Available 24/7 - 1-800-273-8255 

Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio - 1-888-628-9454

Veteran & Military Crisis Line - for families too!


The suicide of a child can devastate a family and a community. On KC's Morning News we heard from Jessica Nugent about the suicide of her 14-year-old son Luke (pictured above). 

He was an 8th grader in Joplin. And he was bullied. The school, she says, did nothing to protect him or stop the bullies.  

One Saturday morning she went into Luke's room, to wake him she thought, and found him dead. Her story told plainly, is heartbreaking. LISTEN


Data from the National Institutes of Health shows victims of cyberbullying were almost two times as likely to attempt suicide than those who were not. 

According to clinical psychologist Dr. Ben Michaelis social media can amplify the issues, can cause copycat suicides, and can become whats known as a contagion. 

Yet about social media, Michaelis says "it's too early to say that it's good or bad, definitely having a major impact no question about it." And that's because social media can also provide the resources and tools to get help like the crisis text line at 741741.

"There's tons of active rescues because of places that are using the tech for good," said Michaelis.



Family members and friends are often left wondering why and shouldering blame over the suicide of a loved one. Tom Phillips with Suicide Awareness Survivors Support of Missouri and Kansas lost his older brother in 2011: "Though I had not seen him in a couple of years, I was convinced I was somehow responsible."

To get support and connect with survivors:

Kansas City Metro: 




More police departments are relying on Crisis Intervention Training to deal with those who are suicidal or mentally ill, like Overland Park, Kansas.

More than 1,000 officers are now trained in crisis intervention. They often work with a mental health co-responder on-scene. Social worker Megan Younger has handled more than 2,500 calls the past three years.

Younger says the collaborative program helps to reduce suicides, leads to fewer arrests and provides more with assistance from Johnson County mental health. Her position is funded through a grant.

Comments ()