Advocates Hold Vigil To Raise Awareness For Suicide Prevention
TULSA, Oklahoma - Oklahoma ranks 17th in the nation when it comes to suicides each year, which is actually an improvement, but suicide prevention advocates say more needs to be done.
Some used Thursday to raise awareness about the issue with a vigil for National Suicide Prevention week.
The event was organized by Family and Children's Services as a way to instill hope to people who have been impacted by suicide.
On December 10, 2013, a happy family changed from three to two - it was the day Madison Baird's fiancé took his life.
“If I had it to do all over again I would have point blank asked him if he was thinking about hurting himself or if suicide was an option for him," she said.
The couple was less than a half a year away from tying the knot when Baird said her fiancé, a successful petroleum engineer, succumbed to depression.
She said the word suicide never came up, but looking back now she could see the signs.
Baird said, "You want to be there for them, you want to lift them up and you want to get them the help they need, but where do you turn? Where do you go?"
Knowing where to go and what to do is a common problem, and Amanda Bradley with COPES - a community outreach psychiatric emergency service - said that's when loved ones and friends should step in and be sure to not minimize talk of suicide.
Bradley said, “The reality is, it may come across as a joke, but that may be the only way they are comfortable verbalizing it out loud."
She said the signs can often range from becoming withdrawn or getting upset easily, but the reasons people choose suicide are countless.
"One person's situation is completely different from anyone else's, and it may just be that one tipping point for them to become suicidal," said Bradley.
Baird said she knew her John was depressed, and believes he felt like he could handle it alone. But when it comes to life or death, sometimes you need help.
"They need a life raft, they need help getting out of that, and no one person can do that by themselves," she said.
Veteran suicide is a growing problem. The Department of Veteran Affairs estimates, nationwide, 22 veterans commit suicide a day - almost one an hour.