Within minutes after you have finished reading this article, another life will have been lost to suicide in this country.
Every 13 minutes an American dies from a self-inflicted injury, said Janey Wheeler, a licensed professional counselor on the staff at OCCC.
Wheeler spoke in September at the Brown Bag lunch session called “Save a Life QPR.”
Her purpose was to persuade listeners in her small audience to be more aware of those around them who may be contemplating suicide. This could be a peer, a loved one, or even a student one attends class with. Lives can be saved if someone can intervene before it is too late, Wheeler said.
“We can all help get somebody help.”
Wheeler said, in Oklahoma, four out of five who commit suicide are men.
Society as a whole, including the medical field, often fails to see the relationship between mental and physical health, leading to tragic outcomes, according to an Oklahoma Watch article.
Wheeler said suicide is the second leading cause of death among Oklahoma youths.
The things that trigger suicide are loss, trouble and change.
Wheeler showed a short video of a man who survived a suicide attempt.
In the video, J.D. Schraumm tells a story about a man named John who attempted suicide on June 11, 2003.
John’s attempt to jump off the Manhattan bridge led him to breaking every rib in his body and puncturing a lung, drifting in and out of consciousness.
“As he drifted down the East River, under the Brooklyn Bridge and out into the pathway of the Staten Island Ferry, people heard his cries and contacted the boat’s captain,” Schraumm said.
“The captain contacted the Coast Guard, who then took him to Bellevue Hospital.”
Once John committed to putting his life back together — first physically, then emotionally and spiritually — he found that there were very few resources available to someone who has attempted to end his life in the way that he did.
“Research shows that 19 out of 20 people who attempt suicide will fail, but the people who fail are 37 times more likely to succeed the second time,” he said.
“I know John’s story very well because I’m John, and this is today, the first time in any sort of public setting I’ve ever acknowledged the journey that I have been on,” Schraumm said.
Wheeler said Schraumm’s story shows that even people who take the final desperate step to end their lives can recover the will to live — if they survive and get professional help.
In the video, Schraumm said he needed to step out of his silence and talks about an idea worth spreading: that the people who have made the difficult choice to come back to life need more resources.
They need professional help and that help is not always readily available.
Wheeler emphasized that is her message too.
She said anyone who struggles with mental issues should come to the counseling offices in Student Support Service located on the first floor of the Main Building or call Wheeler at 405-682-7520.
The National Suicide hotline at 800-273-TALK offers 24-hour toll-free help for anyone contemplating suicide.
For immediate mental help, call the Oklahoma County Crisis Intervention Center (OCCIC) at 405-522-8100 or 800-522-9054. OCCIC is located at 2625 General Pershing Blvd. in Oklahoma City between May and Villa avenues, south of NW 10th Street.
The Reachout Hotline at 800-522-9054 is a 24-hour hotline for information or referrals regarding mental health and substance abuse issues.