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Tulsa's suicide rate

Tulsa has more suicides than murders practically every year. Tulsa Police officers and mental health professionals aren't really sure why or what the answer is. Tulsa has had 31 murders so far this year and 34 suicides. The majority of them are white men and most often, uses a gun.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright looks at this alarming trend.

Cherry Shoemaker is the mother of three and runs a business with her husband, the appearance of a perfect life. But that was not the case last year when she was struggling with her teenagers, her past and cancer. She felt swallowed by darkness and didn't believe she could go on. “I was just tired, tired of fighting and of things in life not working out for me.”

She even chose a date wrote good-bye letters and even picked a method, but then something stopped her. "I sat up and said this is the day I'm going to say goodbye and I reached for the Benadryl, I wanted to take enough to just go to sleep and I heard a voice and it said, if you take this it's going to hurt my feelings. And, I believe it was the voice of God."

She chose life and is now full of hope for the future, but not everyone is so lucky.

In 2004, 62 people committed suicide in Tulsa, 41 used guns, 10 were hangings, five overdoses, one gas, one cyanide, one in a vehicle and three used plastic bags. More than half of them did it over a relationship break-up and 12 of them were over 70 years old and ill. Tulsa Police Captain Tracie Crocker: "It's permanent. We can't get you help to fix things if you take your life. We get lots of mental health training to try to keep people from committing suicide."

Tulsa Police say there's so much help available to people, that suicide does not have to be their answer, no matter how big the problem seems. Cherry is living proof of that. “The circumstances of life were just so overwhelming; it was love that kept me going."

Cherry got counseling through Family and Children Services and says it made all the difference in the world; they are a United Way funded organization. She says when people are suicidal; the reality in their head says there is no other way out. But she says they need to know there is another reality, filled with love and hope and a brighter tomorrow.
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