Report shows sharp rise in suicides in Kansas

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OLATHE, Kan. -- Last year, 505 Kansans took their own lives. A new state report finds that is nearly a third more than the previous year. Johnson County had the most suicides -- 92.

Krystle Vogt's parents say she lit up a room when she walked in. That light left the world a year ago.

"My husband and I have come to the realization that she wore two faces and only allowed us to see the happy face," said her mother, Jackie Vogt of Olathe.

Jackie and her husband, David Vogt, said the break-up of a relationship and deep depression were factors in their daughter taking her own life. Yet they don't really answer the deepest question.

"That 'Why?' question is so hard to get past," said David Vogt.

It's a question asked, too, about the 31 percent increase in suicides in Kansas last year. More than eight out of 10 occurred in men. In age groups, the largest number occurred in people 45 to 54 followed by 25 to 34. Krystle was 25.

Mental health professionals point to the recession as one possible reason for the increase. They say cuts in mental health services are another.

The Vogts wonder about the influence of the Internet. One dark website was the last thing Krystle looked at on her phone.

"They tell you how to do it and everything," said Jackie Vogt.

The Vogts are now involved in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: They say watch for warning signs in your loved ones.

"We saw Krystle the night before, and her eyes were different that night," said David Vogt.

Jackie Vogt added, "Tell 'em it's okay to talk. It's okay to talk about it if you're suffering. We can get them help."

She said there is help available that can save lives.

Bill Art, a social worker with Johnson County Mental Health, said you shouldn't be afraid to bring up the word "suicide." Ask, in a non-threatening way, "When was the last time you had thoughts of suicide?" Get the person help. Resources are at

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