Fighting suicide through Katie's Way

Published: Aug. 23, 2016 at 11:15 PM CDT
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Katie Mathis seemed like your everyday 21-year-old. She loved the outdoors, enjoyed sports and was a lot of fun. But she also struggled with depression.

On June 20, 2013, Katie died by suicide.

“There’s nothing about your life at that moment that doesn’t have regret,” said Jeff Mathis, Katie’s father and owner of Mathis Rehab Centers, LLC.

Jeff Mathis and his wife, LeAnn, tried everything to help Katie but they say traditional therapy couldn’t reach her.

“What we found through that is institutional settings, which is what you’ll typically find, hospital settings-- people, especially young people, aren’t comfortable doing that,” said LeAnn Mathis, Katie’s mother.

Wanting an alternative for other families, the Mathis family started Katie’s Way. Located in an old stone house on Poyntz Avenue in Manhattan, it provides team-based care in a home-like setting.

“Two qualified practitioners being together on the medical side and on the counseling side that work side by side; know one another, know their treatment approaches and know the kids that they serve mutually on a daily basis,” said Jeff Mathis.

According to Jeff Mathis, Katie’s Way practitioners see 40 to 50 patients daily. They have an expansion underway to help even more and need more practitioners.

“We’re adding three thousand square feet and we’re in desperate need of finding more qualified psychologists. When a kid needs help, I don’t want a kid waiting three or four months for help,” said Jeff Mathis.

The Mathises also want to encourage parents who are survivors of a child deceased by suicide to not isolate themselves.

“No one is alone and I just want to encourage people to seek help and not be embarrassed. To reach out,” said LeAnn Mathis.

According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death in Kansas for ages 10 to 34.

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