OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – September is National Suicide Prevention and Recovery month. One state agency is offering some training to citizens so they can help others going through a mental health or addiction crisis.
“Suicide is at an all-time high in Oklahoma and we continue to see that even coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bonnie Campo with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services said.
Just over 4 percent of adults in Oklahoma had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year. 1 in 10 students reported attempting suicide in that same span. Those are some sobering stats for the sooner state.
“We are doing everything we can to proactively and preventively reach people,” Campo said.
With this month being National Suicide Prevention and Recovery month, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is offering three training sessions to help combat those stats.
“We’re trying to prioritize mental health in the state of Oklahoma just like any other health condition because mental health is health,” Campo said. “It’s like going to the gym for your body. This is working on your mind, it’s the same things.”
The training is to give citizens the skills to help adults going through a mental health crisis or substance abuse challenge. Campo said most suicides in the state involve older white males, but the training also teaches adults techniques to help younger people showing early warning signs of those challenges. Campo said that’s a big topic, especially with the changing landscape of social media and more for younger people, specifically teen girls.
“Bullying, whether that’s online or in person, is about one in 5 kids and it’s just growing,” she said.
Early intervention is also key, as is identifying and acting on the situation. Experts say being non-judgmental listeners that provide reassurance and support is important as well.
“We’re trying to remind them that we are there for them, even whenever things are uncertain,” Campo said.
Another huge resource is the state’s 988 hotline. Participants in the training must be age 18 or older. If you would like to get involved, you can register for the sessions slated for Sept. 8, 13 and 27 or find more information at the agency’s website at mhfa-ok.org.
More information on those training sessions from the agency’s news release can be found below.
“Training classes are open to all Oklahoma residents, including teachers, coaches, youth program managers, youth pastors, parents, managers, human resource professionals, construction field managers, client-facing staff positions, customer service positions, faith leaders and any adult desiring education in ways to help others experiencing mental health issues.”
- The Adult MHFA class on Friday, Sept. 8, is a fully in-person training from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There will be no pre-work for this training event. DCCCA Oklahoma will host the event at 825 S. Kelly Avenue, Suite 120, Edmond, Oklahoma, 73003.
- The Youth MHFA class on Wednesday, Sept. 13, is a blended/virtual class from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Before attending the live virtual training class on Zoom, participants must complete two hours of self-paced pre-work in the MHFA connect system.
- The Adult MHFA class on Wednesday, Sept. 27, is a blended/virtual class from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Before attending the live virtual training class on Zoom, participants must complete two hours of self-paced pre-work in the MHFA connect system.