Suspenders4Hope brings hope to conversation surrounding suicide


Baswanth Naidu/The Sunflower

Maren Berblinger from the Kansas Leadership Center gives certificates to participants during the Suspenders4Hope Preventing Suicide Training on Sept. 13.

The Wichita Journalism Collaborative partnered with Wichita State, Sedgwick County Health Department, the City of Wichita and Suspenders4Hope to bring the conversation forward and train individuals to help prevent suicide in the community. 

“I believe that we can … showcase Wichita as a leader in community support for mental health,” Jessica Provines, assistant vice president for wellness, said. “And if we can bring this into our organizations and our workplaces and our schools … we can create a much more supportive, connected,  suicide safer community.”

Provines led the evidence-based training session. The goals for this training were to learn more about suicide and the symptoms and signs of it.

Suicide-related statistics:

  • 10.5 million people report having suicidal thoughts each year.
  • With regards to those people, less than 0.5 %die of  suicide. 
  • Suicides are more prevalent than homicides in the United States. 
  • Suicide attempts are higher among females, but completed suicides are higher among males. 

The training discussed a method of how to help those with suicidal thoughts — share, ask and support. More information about this method can be found on their website.

Provines, County commissioner Sarah Lopez and Ascension Via Christi President Robyn Chadwick all shared their personal experiences relating to mental health. 

“In 2014, my world was completely rocked when my 14-year-old attempted suicide … I was a social worker, working in a hospital … and I had no idea what to do,” Chadwick said. “That feeling of not knowing what to do is really what has driven me for the last seven years to be an outspoken advocate for mental health.”

Mayor Whipple also attended the training just after passing a city ordinance to decriminalize the possession of fentanyl test strips. 

“I was just tagged in a post from a woman whose teenage son died yesterday from an overdose on fentanyl, and she’s not sure if her son knew there was fentanyl in that. This is an epidemic,” Whipple said. 

If you’re interested in the training, you can participate in the free, self-paced online training at #WeSupportUPreventing Suicide training


988  / Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

741741 / Crisis Text Line

1-800-273-TALK / National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255 Press 1 / Veterans Crisis Line

1-866-488-7386 / The Trevor Project, For young LGBTQ Lives