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In Oklahoma, an uphill fight to reduce the stigma related to suicide, mental health issues

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: November 25, 2013

Reports from the state's mental health agency show rates of serious psychological distress in Oklahoma are routinely above national rates regardless of age. Suicide rates are high, too.

Many people who lose a loved one to suicide wonder what signs they missed or how they might have prevented such a tragedy. There is certainly no guarantee that catching early warning signs would have changed an outcome. But the mere possibility of saving a life warrants the investment of time and resources to reduce incidences of suicide and other mental health indicators.

Families like the Magalassis are beacons of hope. Through their tremendous pain, they speak hope into others. Through a scholarship in their son's name, they encourage high schools to pen their thoughts about suicide prevention — a small but undoubtedly meaningful step in eliminating the taboo of talking about such a tough issue.

The “why?” questions won't go away when someone commits suicide because there are no easy answers. But Oklahomans should be grateful for the Magalassis and others like them who match the questions of why with the determination to help save others from experiencing their pain.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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