Firearms are the most common method of death by suicide — accounting for half of all suicide deaths.
In an effort to reduce access to lethal suicide methods and to protect children in the home, Johnson County Mental Health Center and the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition now offer free gun locks for residents available across the county.
The program’s goal is to help reduce firearm accidents and misuse by creating a culture of firearm safety through continuous reinforcement of the importance of storing firearms responsibly when not in use.
Residents may pick up free gun locks at the Mental Health Center’s three main locations — 6000 Lamar Ave. in Mission, 1125 W. Spruce St. in Olathe and 6440 Nieman Road in Shawnee. Gun locks are also available in area police stations, hospitals and other community locations through partnership with Project ChildSafe.
Each year, the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition hosts an Annual Report-Out, allowing coalition participants and community members to get a sense of the ways the coalition has been active in fulfilling its mission. The report-out features a keynote presentation and the most up-to-date statistics on suicide loss in the community. The leadership team also reports on the progress of various initiatives, highlights the work of community partners, and shares an overview of the coalition's finances. The Annual Report-Out is an excellent opportunity for the community to gather and honor the work the coalition has done while casting a vision for the future.
Adult Awareness Campaign
The Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition has been exploring creative ways to outreach the community since its inception. The community outreach campaign has evolved into a sub-committee which meets monthly during the JoCo Suicide Prevention Coalition meetings. This sub-committee has a primary focus to connect with adults in the community who may benefit from suicide prevention outreach. We have developed community partnerships and supported educational and informational material with our partners. Some of our recent creative solutions include promoting the Johnson County Mental Health Center crisis line on playing cards, drink coasters, and alcoholic beverage containers. Our goal and focus continues to identify creative outreach approaches that will connect with adults who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide.
Sources of Strength
Sources of Strength is an evidence-based, upstream prevention program that employs a strength-based approach to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities.
This strengths-based approach cultivates the identification, development, and utilization of eight protective factors, or Strengths. Ultimately, these eight Strengths empower individuals and communities to develop their own resilience to promote health and wellness in themselves and others. Our united goal is to create a healthy culture around early help-seeking behaviors and promote internalized strengths at the individual and community level.
Through a unique partnership with the coalition, community foundations and Johnson County School Districts, we can collectively bring connections, hope, help and strength to hundreds of students and educators throughout Johnson County.
For more information, check out the Sources of Strength KC on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
Zero Reasons Why
#ZeroReasonsWhy (ZRW) is a community-wide mobilization effort to target and prevent teen suicide, through education and awareness efforts, which incorporates a teen-led story campaign. The target goal is to drive productive conversations centered on affirming there are zero reasons why suicide is an option. The ZRW campaign was originated by the Johnson County six public school districts, and most importantly, the strategic plan guides the community’s view of mental health being just as significant as someone’s physical health. Another important initiative is addressing systemic change across the county Mental Health Continuum of Care. There are three strategic pillars under this plan initiative including Building Community Support, Commitment to Education, and importantly, working together to Remove the Stigma. The goal is to aid the community in addressing these strategic initiatives to identify the most impactful actions to collectively disrupt the increase of teen suicide in our community and around the nation.
The Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition hosts an assortment of trainings to a variety of audiences in our community. Information provided includes local data and trends, new and emerging best practices and evidence-based programs to prevent suicide and support mental wellness. The coalition partners with local and national experts in fields such as public health, research, mental health, healthcare, education, first responders, faith community and social service providers to deliver content from a variety of perspectives to diverse audiences. Training’s provided help us address the three priority goals from the National Strategy of Suicide Prevention, which include 1) Implement research-informed communication efforts designed to prevent suicide by changing knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. 2) Provide training to community and clinical service providers on the prevention of suicide and related behaviors. 3) Promote suicide prevention as a core component of health care services.
Johnson County Department of Health & Environment (DHE) Partnership
Every three years, Johnson County goes through a Community Health Assessment Process (CHAP) which works to identify highest priorities and needs as voiced by our community members. The Community Health Assessment Process (CHAP) is a Johnson County community partnership, which collectively and systematically assesses the health status and needs of our community. The goal is to improve and/or maintain a high level of health for our citizenry.
One of the highest level of needs that was identified includes reducing the number of suicides with a goal of reaching zero.
Based on this overarching goal, the coalition identified three focus goals to work towards.
Goals for the CHAP
- Year 1 is a baseline - reduction of suicides in Johnson County by 10%
- Provide at least one community-based educational event per year
- Increase distribution on means restriction by educating public on use of gun locks - by 10%
This process is reviewed every three years.
- The Johnson Co. Suicide Prevention Coalition hosted speaker, Jay Prior on September 14th. Jay comes to the Coalition with a wealth of experience as an advocate, author, speaker and coach. Having exposure to the LGBTQ+ community over the past 30+ years, Jay has an amazing perspective of the needs and strengths of the LGBTQ+ community. Jay worked to provide the workshop participants with a greater level of awareness and motivation surrounding how to be an ally. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ are at a higher rate for attempts and completions due to the, “lack of peer support, increased harassment, mental health conditions and substance abuse. For LGBTQ people aged 10–24, suicide is one of the leading causes of death. LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely and questioning youth are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harm than straight people. Between 38-65% of transgender individuals experience suicidal ideation.” The Coalition is invested in hosting trainings and workshop to increase awareness and prevention efforts across Johnson County. Over 65 attendees gathered for the workshop. Attendees were able to network prior to the event and visit tables representing ten area agencies who distributed resources and program information.
- On March 1, 2018, the coalition held the fifth annual school event at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center. Dr. Tish Holub Taylor delivered a diverse presentation on “Child and Adolescent Mental Health with an Emphasis on Suicide Prevention". Speak-Up presented on their “You Be You” Campaign which highlights the importance of our teens receiving the reassurance that they are ok to just be—to be unique, transparent, weak or normal. The afternoon portion concluded with a 3-hour ethics training presented by Sharon Stuewe. Thank you to the groups/organizations that supported this event.
- On January 27, 2017, the coalition held the fourth annual school event titled Ally & Care presented by The Trevor Project. The event focused on suicide prevention and the LGBTQ community. Over 130 school professionals and community members attended this event. A big thank you to the Blue Valley School District for hosting this day long training.
- January 29, 2016, the third annual school event titled Self Care: Understanding Compassion Fatigue in the Workplace presented by Mike Boniello. Over 100 school professionals and community members attended this important event. A big thank you to the Blue Valley School District for hosting this event.
- January 15, 2015 School Awareness Event: Over 100 participants attended the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition second annual awareness event for school professionals. The Olathe School District provided the space for this event and shared valuable information to the group about lessons learned in relation to recent suicides. The event also included topics such as self-harm and social media with speakers from Marillac.
- ASIST Training - The Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition has supported training efforts for this two-day suicide first aid class since 2014. ASIST takes participants through a model to help them feel more comfortable and confident in assisting someone in a suicide crisis. As of December 2017, 295 people have completed this two-day training. To schedule a workshop, please contact Prevention Services at 913-715-7880.
- In 2017, the coalition partnered with Flippin’ Sweet Memorial Disc Golf, SASS & Speak Up to raise awareness of suicide in our community. Collaboration with other groups is a priority of the coalition.
- On October 5, 2017, the coalition had the unique opportunity to host a showing of the documentary the S Word. Almost 200 people attended this event that included a screening of the film. After the film, a panel of experts from Johnson County Mental Health Center, Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Olathe Police Department and the director of the film, Lisa Klein, had an open and honest dialogue about suicide prevention in our community. Thank you to Olathe Public Schools for hosting us for this important event.
- August 28, 2015, Johnson County Mental Health Center, in conjunction with the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition, Kansas Crisis Intervention Team, Tom Karlin Foundation, Shawnee Mission Medical Center & Suicide Awareness Survivor Support, hosted global speaker, author and mental health advocate, Kevin Hines. Over 100 community members attended this speaking engagement.
- The 2022 annual report out was held on January 26, 2023 at Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center.
- The 2021 annual report out was held virtually on January 27, 2022.
- The 2020 annual report out was held virtually on February 4, 2021. Review the annual report which includes data.
- January, 30, 2020, around 60 people attended the annual report out for 2019. Review the annual report.
- November 16, 2018, over 50 people attended the annual report out. Review the annual report.
- November 30, 2017, the coalition celebrated the five year anniversary at the fifth annual report out. Fifty people were in attendance from a variety of sectors to celebrate the successes of the coalition. Review the annual report.
- November 29, 2016, over 70 people attended the fourth annual Johnson County Suicide Prevention Update held at MidAmerica Nazarene University. The coalition highlighted their accomplishments from 2016, shared national and local data and debut the first installment of the parent resource video series.
- In November 2015, community leaders attended the third annual Johnson County Suicide Prevention Update. This was an opportunity to celebrate the progress and accomplishments of the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Review the annual report.
- In November 2014, community leaders attended the second annual Johnson County Suicide Prevention Update. This was an opportunity to celebrate the progress and accomplishments of the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition.
- On May 18, 2017, over forty community members attended a discussion surrounding the Netflix series ’13 Reasons Why’. The panel consisted of experts from Johnson County Mental Health Center, Speak Up Foundation, Overland Park Police Department, Children’s Mercy, Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Shawnee Mission Medical Center & MOCSA. This was an open forum that provided an opportunity to talk openly about suicide & how this show impacted our community.
- May 2014 - The Training for Community and Clinical Service Providers hosted Fresh Approaches to Adolescent Suicide Prevention training at JCCC with Dr. Bill Geis. The target audience was school personnel, mental health professionals and law enforcement with over 100 people in attendance.
- February 2014 - The Research Informed Communication Workgroup hosted Suicide's Impact on Education and a School Communities' Response. Educators from all six Johnson County public school districts along with several private school representatives attended this event. Districts shared protocols and discussed best practices along with hearing from a panel of local mental health providers.
- In October 2017, the coalition partnered with Project ChildSafe to provide free gun locks. Firearms are the most common method of death by suicide, accounting for half of all suicide deaths. In an effort to reduce access to lethal suicide methods and to protect children in the home, the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition now offers free gun locks for residents available across the county. This initiative has provided over 500 gun locks in the past 2 months in partnership with local law enforcement and Project ChildSafe. Project ChildSafe is a national program that promotes firearm safety and education distributing free cable-style gun locks so gun owners can securely store their firearms. Gun locks are available at all three Johnson County Mental Health Center locations, local law enforcement agencies and other agencies such as hospitals. Please contact [email protected] for more information.
Mini Grant Opportunity
Up to $500 will be awarded to applicants with projects that focus on suicide prevention in Johnson County. The number of awards will vary, based on applications. Applications will be considered on a monthly basis. Download the Grant Application.