SASS-MoKan 15th annual walk to remember lives lost to suicide

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SASS-MoKan 15th annual walk to remember lives lost to suicide

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This year will mark the 15th anniversary of a walk to remember those who have lost their lives to suicide, homicide, fire, accident, and other traumatic deaths. The remembrance walk will be on Sunday, Sept.9, at 8 a.m. at Loose Park, 51st and Wornall in Kansas City, Missouri.

SASS-MoKan, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit suicide awareness survivor support organization, is sponsoring the event.

Bonnie and Mickey Swade started the support group to honor their son, Brett, after he lost his life to suicide 14 years ago.

The annual remembrance walk is the major part of SASS-MoKan’s fundraising to help with suicide awareness, education, prevention, and survivor support. Funds earned from the walk stay exclusively in the metropolitan Kansas City area.

Facts and figures from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention show that Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall in Missouri and Kansas. It is the second leading cause of death for ages 25-34 in Missouri and second in Kansas for ages 10-34. Over twice as many people in Missouri die by suicide than by homicide with nearly four times that many in Kansas. A Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) report shows that the suicide rate in Kansas increased 45 percent between 1999 and 2016. The rate in Missouri was 36.4 percent. The report said that adults 45-64 had the largest increase in suicide.

Suicide rates among young people go up in the school year and down during the summer. Although the reason is unclear, more girls attempt suicide than boys. Teen suicides in Johnson County nearly doubled in the first six months of 2018, according to Johnson county Mental Health.

Suicide death among farmers is increasing at an alarming rate. A 2012 study conducted by the CDC shows that people working in farming, fishing, and forestry have the highest rates of suicide. This is comparable to the high suicide rates among military veterans. This statistic is of importance to the Kansas City area because it is surrounded by farming communities. The main causes are the unpredictability of nature and prices, unwillingness to seek help, social isolation, and the current opioid crisis.

This year’s event begins with walk-up registration available at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 9. The walk will start in Loose Park at 9:00 a.m., followed by a balloon release which will be around 10:00 a.m. The pre-registration fee is $25 and the day of the walk is $30. Participants can register online by going to and clicking on the registration link.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately.

Go to a hospital, call 911 or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).

Click on the boxes below for our FOX 4 You Matter reports and other helpful phone numbers and resources.


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