New study shows alarming statistics on teen suicide in Oklahoma

By: Daniel Armbruster Email
By: Daniel Armbruster Email

ARDMORE, OK -- A national study just released shows some frightening numbers when it comes teen suicide, especially in southern Oklahoma. That study shows 15 percent of teens think they're going to die young, leading to risky behavior, including suicide attempts. Daniel Armbruster has more.

Between 2000 and 2006, 40% of all suicides in Marshall and Love Counties are teenagers. In Murray County, teens made up 37% of all suicides. That number goes down to 22% in Johnston County, and in Carter County 13% of all suicides between the years of 2000 and 2006 were committed by teenagers.

They numbers are chilling, but according to a newly released study it may be because some teens feel their lives are going nowhere and there's just not much at stake.

Deana Tharp with Mental Health Services of Southern Oklahoma says that is one of the main reasons for suicides of any age.

"They will do it only after feeling depressed or hopeless. It's not just you know they're fine one minute and attempt suicide the next," Tharp says.

The study shows that 15% of teens feel they are going to die young, which may lead them to drug use, suicide, and risky behavior like unprotected sex.

Nan May with YW8, Inc. says these behaviors can all be linked together, and when looking at suicide, gender matters.

"Boys that are sexually active are eight times more likely to attempt suicide, where for girls the thought is the opposite, girls are only three times more likely and we think that three times is high and when we look at our boys and see 8 times, that's horrific," May says.

YW8 is an abstinence-based education program, telling teens wait until marriage to have sex.

According to the program, two-thirds of all sexually active teens regret engaging in sex, and 14% of teen girls who have had intercourse attempt suicide, while only 5% of sexually inactive teen girls do.
As for boys, six percent of sexually active boys have attempted suicide, while less than 1% of sexually inactive teen boys have attempted suicide.

May says it's because teens aren't physically prepared to handle the emotional consequences of risky behavior.

"Their brains aren't going to be finished connecting their frontal lobes until their mid twenties, and at younger ages we're expecting our teens to perform, and even experience situations in the high-risk behaviors that they're not ready to. They don't have the skill set and we assume that they're okay."

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, you can contact the Mental Health Service's 24-Hour Suicide Hotline at 1-800-522-1090.

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  • by Okie Location: Okie Working in Texas on Jul 2, 2009 at 10:58 AM
    There is nothing for the kids in the southern part of Okie Land to do. There parents are probably in one of the CASINO's losing there pay or government checks. When ther paychecks are gone they go to the pawn shops and pawn what possions they have and the toys given to the kids. This has been noticed in Kingston. With the lucrative GAMBLING INDUSTRY IN SOUTHERN OKIE LAND THE INDIANS should do something, if not they will run out of patrons .
  • by al Location: oklahoma on Jul 2, 2009 at 02:44 AM
    Most kids around the age of 15 think they know it all. They usually won't listen to reason nor seek help. They don't seek help because they think they know more than grownups.
  • by Grandma Location: Texas on Jul 1, 2009 at 01:10 PM
    This is so sad, we push our kids to grow up so fast that they get to a point where they feel there is nothing left to live for. I hope someone can show them that is okay to be a kid. Don't let people tell you that sex, drugs, and alcohol make you cool. Try to enjoy life without these influences, no matter what you see in movies and on television.
  • by Just Passin Thru Location: anywherenowhere on Jul 1, 2009 at 10:06 AM
    McKerry from North Texas - Is this the best you can do? This is a very serious problem with our teen's and here you have to make a joke out of it. I think if someone checked the stats we would see that this is not just a problem in Okla but in every other state. SoMsKerry from North Texas, if you have children, you might want to think about this in a littlel more serious way.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 1, 2009 at 09:29 AM
    I would kill myself if I lived in Oklahoma too!
  • by MrKerry Location: North Texas on Jul 1, 2009 at 12:47 AM
    If I had to live in Oklahoma, I would Possibly have to kill myself.
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