Health and Family Services Cabinet
Just Ask the Question

Press Release Date:  Friday, September 07, 2007  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Beth Crace Fisher, (502) 564-6786  

Kentucky Awareness Week Aims to Educate, Train Others for Suicide Warning Signs
When someone is in distress or considering taking their own life, a simple intervention – such as asking a single question - may be all it takes to prevent a suicide .

"Every MOMENT is Precious; Learn to Ask the QUESTION" is the theme of this year’s Kentucky Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 9-15. The campaign features radio ads to bring vital suicide prevention and awareness messages across Kentucky.

The Kentucky Department for Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services (MH/MR) wants all Kentuckians to learn more about and get involved with suicide prevention efforts, emphasizing the importance of talking to someone to see if he or she may be considering suicide.

The state’s mental health experts recommend open communication and discussion about suicide as the first step toward suicide prevention. For example, it’s important to look for personality changes such as talking about taking one’s life or feeling sad or hopeless about the future – and to ask questions about these topics. Also look for changes in eating or sleeping habits or losing the desire to take part in favorite activities.

During Suicide Prevention Week, Kentucky’s 200-plus suicide prevention gatekeeper trainers will teach people in their communities how to recognize the warnings sign of someone in a suicidal crisis, and how to take action to help save a life.

“Learning how to ask a single question could be the first step toward saving the life of someone in a suicidal crisis,” said Jan UIrich, MH/MR’s suicide prevention marketing specialist. “Everyone should take this training. It can be done in as little as one hour to one and a half hours and can save someone’s life.”

Here are a few facts about suicide in Kentucky:

· Kentucky ranks 16th in the nation in its rate of suicidal deaths.

· In Kentucky, suicides outnumber homicides 3 to 1.

· Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Kentuckians 15 to 34 years old; and the fourth leading cause of death for Kentuckians 35 to 54 years old.

Ulrich, additional trainers and suicide survivors (those who have lost someone to suicide) are available to discuss these and other facts surrounding suicide, including suicide prevention training on "how to ask the QUESTION," and the impact of suicide on friends and family. For further information, contact Ulrich at (502) 564-4456 ext. 4436.