Murray County residents tackle stigmas relating to suicide prevention

SULPHUR, Okla. (KXII) - A majority of the people gathered at the safeTALK suicide prevention training in Sulphur on Saturday say they have been impacted directly by suicide, sometimes as a young age.

That's the case for Sulphur resident Jennifer Allison.

"Suicide impacted me at 13 years old," Allison said. "I had somebody try to take his life in front of me and my brother."

Data from the state of Oklahoma says suicide is the second leading cause of death for people age 10 to 24 in the United States and Oklahoma.

That's why the Murray County chapter of Oklahoma Home and Community Education partnered with the Chickasaw Nation to educate on recognizing signs in people at risk for suicide and how to respond.

The training also focused on how to be direct when asking if someone is thinking about suicide.

Allison said she learned it's okay to talk to people even if she doesn't have all the right words.

"A lot of times, they just want to know that you're willing to help them, that you hear them and that you see them," Allison said.

Teo Hair, with Murray County OHCE, said what she learned will help her understand and talk with a friend.

"It's going to make an impact on how I see her from now on," Hair said. "(I will) hopefully be able to help her too."

The training works to move beyond any tendencies to dismiss or avoid suicide, something Bobby Allison said has affected him personally and as a youth pastor.

"It's something we need to talk about," Bobby Allison said. "It's something that needs to be out there. It's something that we don't need to be sweeping under the rug anymore or acting like there's a dark shadow over it."

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Suicide Warning Signs:

-Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
-Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
-Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
-Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
-Talking about being a burden to others
-Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
-Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
-Sleeping too little or too much
-Withdrawing or isolating themselves
-Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
-Extreme mood swings

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