Raising awareness for youth suicide prevention

Raising awareness for youth suicide prevention

OK (KSWO) - The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is committed to raising awareness and support for Youth Suicide Prevention during National Suicide Prevention Month in September.

Youth suicide numbers continue to rise in Oklahoma. Between 2005 and 2014, youth suicide deaths from 10 to 24 years of age have increased by 31 percent, with an average of 85 youth dying each year by suicide. In 2014, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among Oklahomans 10 to 34 years of age. According to a report released by OSDH, more than 450 youth ages 10 to 24 died as a result of suicide from 2010 to 2014.

The suicide rate among Oklahoma youth was 41 percent higher than the U.S. rate; both the U.S. and Oklahoma youth suicide rates have been on the increase since 2007. Mental health problems along with depressed mood and intimate partner problems were found to be the leading circumstances associated with youth suicides.

Warning signs a person may be considering suicide:

  • Talks about suicide
  • Has trouble eating or sleeping
  • Drastic changes in behavior
  • Withdraws from friends and social activities
  • Loses interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
  • Makes out a will and final arrangements
  • Gives away prized possessions
  • Has attempted suicide in the past
  • Takes unnecessary risks
  • Has had recent severe losses
  • Is preoccupied with death and dying
  • Loses interest in their personal appearance
  • Increases the use of alcohol or drugs

What you can do:

  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
  • Be willing to listen, allow expressions of feelings and accept the feelings.
  • Be non-judgmental and don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong.
  • Get involved, become available and show interest and support.
  • Get support and don’t be sworn to secrecy.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available.
  • Remove lethal means such as guns or stockpiled pills.
  • Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

To access the report on youth suicides and other statistics, visit the Oklahoma Violent Death Reporting System web page http://okvdrs.health.ok.gov.

For more information on suicide prevention, visit the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services prevention website or the National Suicide Prevention Resource Center http://www.sprc.org.

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