Tulsa's suicide rate on the increase

Thursday, July 17th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A specific type of homicide is on the rise in Tulsa - the suicide rate. The groups trying to prevent suicide say it may be linked to the downturn in the economy. News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan has the story.

For Linda Parker - every new suicide is heartbreaking. “My daughter was a cheerleader, an honor student, on the academic team, tons and tons of friends.” But despite all that - her 14-year-old daughter killed herself. “Incredible looking back things she did to plan this out and took her life in January and she said in her note that when another person took her life in December, she knew that she could.”

And suicide is happening more often. In 2001, 112 people committed suicide in Tulsa County. The number dropped some in 2002. So far this year 55 people have committed suicide, setting the pace for an unfortunate record year. Roxann Moeller got help for her depression and suicidal thoughts - now she's helping others. "The main thing to look for is changes, if they change dramatically from the way they usually behave, if they give away things that are precious to them."

Public service announcements on television help direct people towards help - and in Tulsa - there's a single phone number for people in trouble to call. In May, they took more than 600 calls, increasingly from people in financial trouble. Cindy Hickl with Tulsa Family and Children Services: "We've seen a trend lately in a lot of calls from people who have lost jobs or having economic problems."

The causes are less certain than the impact - the hurt families left behind wondering why. At least seven Tulsa children committed suicide over the last school year.

The number to call for help is 744-4800.