Opinion Columns & Blogs

Suicide spike worrisome amid talk of privatizing Comcare

It was heartbreaking to learn that 82 residents of Sedgwick County took their own lives in 2014, an increase over the total 70 in 2013 but still fewer than the 88 suicides in 2012. Any suicide is a tragedy, for a family but also a community. Interpretation of the year-to-year rate changes in the Sedgwick County Suicide Prevention Coalition’s report is challenging, but officials should pay special attention to the risk factors among seniors. And with 55 percent of the victims last year having experienced prior suicidal tendencies or suicide attempts and 63 percent having a history of mental illness or substance abuse, the report is a worthy caution as the County Commission majority considers privatizing Comcare. A community mental health system serves a vulnerable constituency that shouldn’t be placed at further risk by unnecessary ideological experiments. – Rhonda Holman