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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People between the ages of 18 and 25 have accounted for three suicides this year, as well.

People 63 and older and those between the ages of 26 and 40 have fewer reported suicides among them, with only three falling in those age ranges in 2012.

‘A real problem'

Organizers of Monday night's summit, which is the second one held in Edmond this year, say that nobody is sure why there has been a spike in suicides this year.

Jenny Monroe, an Edmond police spokeswoman, said the department has no answer, either.

“They've all just been completely different circumstances, honestly,” Monroe said.

Kathy Matthews, who works for Edmond Family Counseling, said there may not be a ready-made explanation for the suicides this year, but the rise in self-inflicted deaths is “a real problem.”

“All of our tragic circumstances … have cut across age, cut across gender, across socio-economic … there's hasn't been a uniting characteristic,” Matthews said. “Nobody is immune. Anybody can find themselves in that situation.”

Matthews said the apparent randomness of the suicides has the Edmond community anxious to do something about the problem.

“Because of that, I think the community is concerned as to how to recognize someone who's in crisis and the appropriate way to reach out,” she said.

The summit focused on a method of suicide prevention and intervention, which was developed in the 1990s to teach people how to recognize the warning signs associated with suicide and then do something about it.

Those in attendance Monday night were broken up into smaller groups and were to question whether a person is contemplating suicide, persuade the person to seek help and referring them to a trained person who can provide that help.

Jennifer, whose son attempted suicide while she was out of town for the day back in July, said she was familiar with many of things the instructors were talking about, but said everything helps.

“I've looked into this a lot since my son's suicide attempt and since he became as depressed as he has been,” she said. “But you've got to learn all you can … if your loved one is truly suicidal.”


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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