U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Michael Fellman says a chance passerby — or, perhaps, divine intervention — kept him alive when the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder became overwhelming.

Fellman, a combat veteran of the Iraq War who spoke Friday at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs summit in Topeka about mental health care, said he had planned to die on July 31, 2015.

Photo provided by Allison Doss

Allison Doss thought her family was exempt from what she calls the “silent epidemic” of youth suicide.

She had lost her father and her stepfather to suicide, but she never thought she’d lose her daughter, Sara Prideaux.

But on July 30 of last year, the 16-year-old from Lenexa killed herself — and created a new mission for her mother. 

Since Sara’s death, Doss has been working to educate other teens and parents about youth suicide.

White, middle-aged Americans' death rates are on the rise, in Kansas City and beyond. How suicide, alcohol and drugs are contributing to the problem. Plus, gaps in mental healthcare services in and around Kansas City.

For immediate help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255. 

Kevin Briggs saved hundreds of people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco while he served as a California Highway Patrol Officer.  Kevin Hines was 19 years old when he jumped off the same bridge. Now both men speak about suicide prevention.

Kevin Briggs will be signing his book,  'Guardian of the Golden Gate: Protecting the Line Between Hope and Despair' at 7 p.m. Friday, October 16 at Barnes & Noble Zona Rosa. 

Firefighter Kimble Cowan sits with station dog Lucky.
Esther Honig / KCUR

Sirens flash and wail as the 17-ton fire engine barrels down Independence Avenue in Kansas City's Historic Northeast. The four firefighters on board gear up in their flame retardant boots and jackets as they rush to the scene of a call.

“After 25 years I’ve seen just about everything you can image,” says firefighter Dan Utt, shouting over the blaring sirens. “Probably more than I’d like to recall to be honest.”

Kansas Department of Health and Environment has received a federal grant of almost $1 million to help the CDC develop strategies to reduce the number of violent deaths, and the state will share homicide and suicide data with the National Violent Death Reporting System for five years.

The system delves into not just how these deaths happen, but why. It collects data on homicides such as the relationship between the victim and the suspect. In cases of suicide, it gathers details on depression, financial stress, and relationship problems.

Centers for Disease Control

There are 76 million Americans who were born between the mid-40s and the mid-60s. The Baby Boomers have much of the wealth, much of the power, much of the responsibility in our nation today. But, they also now have the highest suicide rate among all age groups. Guest host Brian Ellison talks with Kansas City Star reporter Rick Montgomery about this alarming statistic and how the rate in Kansas has skyrocketed in the last few years.

Harvest Public Media

U.S. farmers are more than three times more likely to commit suicide than other workers, a new study has found.

University of Iowa researcher Wendy Ringgenberg compiled a study based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration farm death statistics from 1992 to 2010. In a recent interview with Iowa Public Radio, Ringgenberg said suicide rates have likely been underestimated and underreported. 

Valentin Casarsa / istockphoto - CC

Whenever a loved one dies, those left behind suffer for that loss, but when that loved one chose to take his or her own life, how do friends and family recover?  In 2009 deaths from suicide surpassed those in motor vehicle accidents. There were more than 30,000 that year.  And in a society that lives much of its life online through social media, what happens to one’s digital self after suicide? Is it acceptable to “defriend the dead,” or is social media a good way for us to cope with the loss of our loved ones?


There was a surprise ending to what may have been a landmark sex abuse case against the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese. 

Both sides reached a settlement  in the middle of  jury selection as trial was to begin in Jackson County Circuit Court at Independence, Mo.

The civil court action stemmed from the 1983 death of a former altar boy.

A statement from the diocese said, in part, that while facts of the case remain unclear, "the tragedy of it is certain."

Susan B. Wilson / KCUR

Murder suicide is rare, but on the rise across the country. Missouri is in the top ten for women killed by intimate partners, and murder-suicide has increased in Kansas.

Shawnee Mission Medical Center

Mention Johnson County, Kansas and locals think wealth, privilege and the pursuit of happiness. But disturbing trends in Johnson County suicide rates challenge us to think beyond this stereotype.


Countless Americans have relatives, friends, or colleagues who have committed suicide. When Fox 4 Kansas City meteorologist Don Harman took his own life last week, many people realized that suicide can affect those whom we least suspect.