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Suicides, attempts spiking this year in Edmond

A suicide prevention summit held Monday at the University of Central Oklahoma was more than just another way to get information for some of the attendees.
by Andrew Knittle Published: November 9, 2012
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— An alarming statistic was front and center at a suicide prevention summit held earlier in the week at the University of Central Oklahoma.

There have been 13 suicides reported to police in the city so far this year, compared to only four in all of last year.

A 14th suicide involving an Edmond Memorial High School freshman took place at his home in far northeast Oklahoma City, just south of the Edmond city limit.

Another 49 residents have attempted suicide this year in Edmond, police records show.

Jennifer, who did not want to give her full name to protect her son's identity, attended the summit and said she is afraid her teenager could be the next suicide in Edmond.

She said her teenage son has become severely depressed in recent months after she and her husband divorced and the boy's father moved out of state. She was one of scores of people who attended the summit Monday night at UCO's Center for Transformative Learning building.

“As a parent, you will try and do anything to save your child,” Jennifer said. “My son is on the brink … I really believe that and that's why I'm here.”

Jennifer said her son attempted suicide earlier in the year but she did not report the incident at her son's insistence. She would not say how he attempted suicide, but called the experience “the worst 12 hours of my life.”

“He told me he didn't mean it, that he didn't really want to die,” Jennifer said. “But you lose some trust after finding your child like that. You lose trust that they won't harm themselves.”

Suicide data compiled by the Edmond Police Department shows that 11 of the 13 reported suicides this year have been males, but many of the other factors are varied.

Only two females have committed suicide this year, records show, but 33 of the 49 attempts were described as “women.”

Records also show that people who have committed suicide in Edmond this year are from all age groups — not just young people or teenagers.

In fact, the age group with the largest number of attempts and confirmed suicides is the 41 to 62 age group. Fourteen people in this age range have attempted suicide this year, while another four carried out the act, records show.

Three people under the age of 18 have committed suicide this year, not including the Edmond Memorial student, who was 14.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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AT A GLANCE

Warning signs

Several behavior changes may serve as suicide warning signs:

Talking about suicide or the desire to die

Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped or a burden to others

Drastic changes in behavior, such as anger, sadness or recklessness

Unusual eating or sleeping patterns

Isolation or withdrawal

Giving away of prized possessions

Increased alcohol or drug use

SOURCE: HeartLine and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline

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