In an apparent murder-suicide, police said Jamie Helms killed herself and her 3-year-old daughter on Wednesday. Police also said she tried to kill her 5-year-old son, but he was able to escape.
There are ways to spot someone in desperate conditions, and there are laws that give options. Oklahoma's safe haven law allows parents to drop off a child up to seven days old at a police station or hospital without being charged.
Another law says, as a last resort, a parent can take a child up to 18 years old to the Department of Human Services and request voluntary foster care placement. But often, a person in the pit of despair isn't thinking about all the help that's available.
That might have been what happened to Helms.
Court records show she had been arrested for assaulting her husband, and he filed a protective order against her, plus divorce, all in the last few months.
But experts say there is help available, even when things seem out of hand.
Rose Turner, Managing Director of the Child Abuse Network, said if you suspect someone is in trouble, talk to them and don't hesitate to ask the tough questions. She says it's better to press the issue beforehand than regret it afterward.
"People are doing the ‘what-ifs,' the ‘why didn't I? I should've noticed.' It's OK to talk about it," Turner said. "A lot of people don't because they're afraid it'll encourage it. It does not encourage it. It actually helps bring it to the forefront to deal with it."
She said those who feel hopeless and helpless may show it in different ways, from being withdrawn or showing behavioral changes, to substance abuse and making a reference to "ending it all."
Turner said the best thing to get is get them to a counselor and show them they aren't alone.
"[They think] 'It's only happening to me and I don't have any other option,'" she said. "We'll be able to give them options. 'I know you're feeling bad right now, however, this is how we can get you some help,'" Turner said.
If you're in a crisis, call 911 or contact Copes through Children and Family Services.They have crisis units that can come to anyone in trouble.