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Central Standard

Morbid Statistics

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. 

First Calland Tri-County Mental Health Services provide local resources.


  • Dan Margolies, health editor, KCUR
  • Edward Ellerbeck, chair of preventive medicine and public health, University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Jarron St. Onge, assistant professor of sociology and health policy management, University of Kansas
  • Molly O'Neill, president and CEO, First Call
  • Marcia Epstein, social worker specializing in suicide prevention and bereavement support
  • Tom Petrizzo, CEO, Tri-County Mental Health Services
People don't make cameos in news stories; the human story is the story, with characters affected by news events, not defined by them. As a columnist and podcaster, I want to acknowledge what it feels like to live through this time in Kansas City, one vantage point at a time. Together, these weekly vignettes form a collage of daily life in Kansas City as it changes in some ways, and stubbornly resists change in others. You can follow me on Twitter @GinaKCUR or email me at gina@kcur.org.
Matthew Long-Middleton has been a talk-show producer, community producer, Media Training Manager and now the Community Engagement Manager at KCUR. You can reach him at Matthew@kcur.org, or on Twitter @MLMIndustries.
Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.