Suicide prevention takes a village

Every day, 87 people in the U.S. commit suicide.

“Suicidal thoughts are so common in our society,” said Student Support Services Counselor Jenna Howard at a recent event titled “QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer): Recognizing the Crisis Warning Signs.”

“Most people at one time in their life have had a thought of suicide,” she said. “It’s what happens next that is important.”

Howard said the goal of the 40-minute speech was to give students and faculty the tools to help those who may have suicidal thoughts. She said it’s important for friends and acquaintances to question a person about his or her suicidal thoughts.

Howard said reaching out could save someone’s life. Many suicidal people just need to be persuaded to stop and get help, Howard said.

“When someone is considering suicide, a lot of times there is a reason part of them wants to live and part of them doesn’t want to be here anymore.

“A lot of times [the person is] looking for a solution to this tremendous crisis [he or she is] feeling.” Howard used the Golden Gate Bridge as an example of the struggle those with suicidal thoughts face.

According to www.bigthink. com, the bridge has been the site of 1,200 suicides since it was built in 1937. Howard said the few who have survived the jump later said, as they jumped, they wished they hadn’t — they had second thoughts. That is an important fact Howard said. It stresses the importance of trying to persuade anyone who may be suicidal to get help, she said.

“Question the person about his or her suicidal thoughts, persuade them to talk about the problem and refer them to a professional,” Howard said.

Howard said it is OK to ask if someone is feeling suicidal.

“It’s OK to do that and it’s good to do that,” she said.

Help is available through a number of places, Howard said.

Students can visit the Student Support Services office located on the first floor of the Main Building.

A national suicide hotline also can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255 or, if necessary, Howard said, call 911 if someone is in immediate danger.

Student Support Services and Student Life sponsored the program that will be given again in the fall.

For more information, contact the Student Support Services office at 405-682-7520.

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