About the Coalition
The Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition saves and supports life, with our community partners, through awareness, education and outreach.
The Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition meets monthly on the fourth Thursday of the month from 3-4:30pm at the Johnson County Mental Health Center – 1125 W. Spruce St. Olathe, KS 66061. To learn more about the coalition, contact Prevention Service at 913-715-7880.
If you wish to receive coalition information by email click here.
Chair: Joe Kordalski
Co-Chair: Kevin McGuire
Treasurer: Shana Burgess
Secretary: Megan Clark
At-Large: Johnny Roland
At-Large: Rennie McKinney
At-Large: Bonnie Swade
At-Large: Dr. Ann Karty
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.
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.
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. Click here for the report out recap.
In October 2017, the coalition partnered with Project Child Safe 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 Child Safe. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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.
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 opportunityto talk openly about suicide & how this show impactd our community.
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.
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.
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.
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 Coaliton.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How the Coalition was Formed
In November 2012, Johnson County Mental Health Center (JCMHC) hosted a Suicide Prevention Summit gathering over 150 community partners to discuss the alarmingly increasing rates of suicide in our community. Representatives of diverse sectors including healthcare, education, law enforcement, local government etc. participated in round table discussions regarding current conditions and brainstorming next steps in local prevention strategies.
Information was compiled from the dialogue of diverse representatives and presented to focus groups in March 2013 to analyze and drill down to specific goals and strategies. Focus groups referenced the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action Surgeon General's report. Participants narrowed down the thirteen goals prepared in this report to the top three priorities for our community.
- Implement research-informed communication efforts designed to prevent suicide by changing knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.
- Provide training to community and clinical service providers on the prevention of suicide and related behaviors.
- Promote suicide prevention as a core component of health care services.
In May 2013, JCMHC hosted a Key Leader event with CEO's, Presidents, Managers, etc. of local organizations to present findings and establish support for next steps in a local suicide prevention plan.
Three workgroups were formed based on feedback from community participants and the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Over 70 community members signed up to participate in one of the three workgroups. In June 2013, workgroups had their first meeting and created priority objectives.
In November 2013, community leaders were invited back to the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Update. This was an opportunity to celebrate the progress and accomplishments of the newly formed Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition.