Family & Children’s Services urges Oklahomans to study up and help save a life during National Suicide Prevention Week, September 9-15, 2012. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, with one occurring every 14 minutes in the United States.

People at risk of suicide often display warning signs, says Ann Jenkins, clinical director of COPES, a telephone and mobile psychiatric emergency service operated by Family & Children’s Services. Your friend or loved one could be at increased risk if he: 

  • Expresses a strong wish to die or threatens to kill himself,
  • Talks or writes about death, dying or suicide,
  • Makes statements such as, “You’ll be better off when I’m gone,” or “Soon you won’t have to worry about me,”
  • Suddenly begins acting happier and calmer,
  • Begins giving away prized possessions,
  • Impulsively purchases a firearm or obtains poisons or other means of killing himself,
  • Seems hopeless; expresses no reason for living or sense of purpose in life,
  • Acts reckless or engages in risky activities, seemingly without thinking,
  • Increases his alcohol or drug use, or
  • Displays extreme mood swings.

Jenkins urges individuals to call COPES at (918) 744-4800 if they or people they know exhibit suicide warning signs. COPES is a free, confidential service – available 24-hours a day, seven days a week – that provides crisis assessment, intervention and stabilization to children and adults at risk of suicide and those suffering other psychiatric emergencies. COPES provides support by phone and, when needed, team members will respond directly to the person in crisis.