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At a glance: Common suicide warning signs and how to get help

Lorenzo Cook hugs Silvia Cook at Cimarron Plaza in Stillwater. Students were taken there to meet their parents following a suicide at Stillwater Junior High School. PHOTO BY JONATHAN SUTTON, FOR THE OKLAHOMAN
Lorenzo Cook hugs Silvia Cook at Cimarron Plaza in Stillwater. Students were taken there to meet their parents following a suicide at Stillwater Junior High School. PHOTO BY JONATHAN SUTTON, FOR THE OKLAHOMAN

At a glance

Common warning signs of suicide:

• Giving away prized possessions.

• Increased substance abuse.

• Isolation and withdrawal.

• Feelings or statements of hopelessness.

• Talking or joking about death.

• Self-harm.

• Previous suicide attempts.

Other risk factors include a family history of suicide, a history of mental illness, stressful life event or loss, easy access to lethal methods, exposure to suicidal behavior of others, and incarceration.

Know your facts:

• Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Oklahomans ages 10 to 24.

• While young males are more likely to die from suicide, young females attempt it more often.

• The suicide rate for Native Americans is 66 percent higher than whites and Hispanics, and three times that of blacks.

• Firearms were used in half of youth suicides in Oklahoma from 2004-07.

• Firearms are the predominant method of suicide among young males; hanging/strangulation, poisoning and firearms are the leading methods among young females.

• Depression is the leading circumstance associated with young male suicide; for young females, it's relationship problems.

• Twenty-six percent of Oklahoma youths who committed suicide from 2004-07 previously disclosed their intent.

Free and confidential hotlines for parents concerned their teen may be suicidal:

• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255)

• Parents Careline: 848-CARE (2273)

• (800) SUICIDE (784-2433)

For placement or greater treatment than talk therapy, call the state Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Department at 522-3908.

Sources: State Health Department, HeartLine Oklahoma

Zeke Campfield

Zeke Campfield covers state politics and government. He has been reporting for The Oklahoman and NewsOK since February, 2012. He is a graduate of the University of Montana, and worked previously as a reporter for the Lawton Constitution. Read more ›

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