Mental Health Association Oklahoma Offers Free Suicide Prevention Service During Mental Health Awareness Month

May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, and with suicide rates on a steady rise, mental health advocates say early intervention is critical as suicide continues to be a leading cause of death.

Monday, May 20th 2024, 5:18 pm



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May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, and with suicide rates on a steady rise, mental health advocates say early intervention is critical as suicide continues to be a leading cause of death.

“We lose 132 people a day in the U.S.," said Karen LaPlante.

And Lucinda Morte says Oklahoma has a higher rate of suicide deaths than most states in the country. 

“It's still a part of our health; we have to talk about it,” she said. 

She works for Mental Health Association Oklahoma and is in charge of connecting individuals and families with resources.

“We’re really here to talk about what are those warning signs and how do we step in and be someone who can help someone,” said LaPlante.

Today’s resource is all about opening up the conversation surrounding suicide.

“We know that a lot of times people do communicate suicide intent,” said Morte.

Her organization is teaching a suicide prevention technique called QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer. If you're worried about someone, experts say to use the 3 words in order. 

First - question.

“Asking questions like ‘Are things so bad in your life that you’re thinking about suicide?,” said Morte.

Then persuade.

“Persuading them to get help. 'I’ll go with you,’ or ‘will you let me help you get help?'” she said.

And finally, refer.

“Having a plan in place, having a safety plan in place for where can they go to get help,” Morte said. 

By educating the community on early intervention, the group is working to create a world where mental health is prioritized and lives are saved.

“Everyone has the ability to help save a life,” said LaPlante.

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