Youth Suicide Rates Climbing, A Tulsa Family Shares Their Story

Wednesday, May 23rd 2018, 9:52 pm
By: Brian Dorman

The latest numbers show suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country and the problem is even worse in Oklahoma where we have the 8th highest report of suicides.

The most troubling numbers are for ages 10 to 34. In fact, for that age group suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in Oklahoma.

Caleb Sullivan, a talented artist, grew up with two older brothers, Joe and Ian and his mom, a music teacher. A family that enjoyed trips to the lake and rallied around each other during tough times.

"He just loved to play, skateboard and play with his friends," said Caleb’s mother Karen. In middle school, Caleb started falling behind and then one day he told his mother some startling.

"One night he came in and he told me, mom, I think you need to take me to a hospital because I don't want to be alive."

That led to therapy a year off from school and medication all seemed to help as he started at Union. During high school, Karen says nothing seemed too concerning and to make her feel better they had an agreement.

"If you're ever feeling like you're at the point where you would hurt yourself please tell me and he said he would," said Karen. Everything changed on September 18th, 2017. "He didn't answer the door, I broke the door open and I found him."

That life-changing discovery was quickly followed by an unforgettable phone call to Caleb's brothers. The oldest son Ian remembers the call.

"I tell anyone who's going through this. life doesn't end you just learn to move on."

8 months later Caleb would've graduated and soon be celebrating his birthday. Karen, Joe, and Ian are going on a cruise to recreate their favorite family vacation.

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or going through a loss, there are resources that can help you. Including The National Suicide Prevention Hotline and OK.Gov