Tag: suicide prevention

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Oct 6, 2014

By Kayley Saunders

Suicide Prevention: Then and Now


At HeartLine, we know that sometimes you have to change your perspective in order to understand where another person is coming from. Well, this week, we’re practicing exactly that! A need for a change in perspective has resulted in our top two executives switching offices. Anyone who has had a big move knows that there are always fun treasures to be found when packing and unpacking, but this move brought something we didn’t expect.

We found a copy of The Saturday Evening Post Magazine. The Post has been a chronicler of American history for 300 years, but this particular issue was dated June 17, 1967 and I can only assume we kept it because of a cover story titled “why children commit suicide.”

In the midst of all the transitions HeartLine has gone through and the current development of our newest student-led initiative “Time to Talk,” we thought it might be a a good laugh to see the way the misinformed scientists and psychologists of the 1960’s thought to handle the issue of youth suicide, something that is still a prescient issue today.

This article, written by Max Gunther, has shaken me not because it’s so bad, but because the words printed 47 years ago are just as true now as they were that year. That year, coincidentally, is the year this employee’s parents were born.

In 1967, they measured the rate of suicide completions as a way of gauging the problem. “Completion” is the term we in the field use to refer to a death by suicide. Gunther discusses that the issue with this measure is the lack of accurate reporting and the fact that the rate of attempts is so much higher than the rate of completions. Even higher than the rate of attempts (we know now) is the rate of those experiencing suicidal thoughts or making suicidal plans. To help this, Gunther goes on to give common warning signs. He mentions triggering events, isolation, overwhelming and permanent sense of failure… At one point, he even says “All they need, most of them, is one friendly voice saying, ‘Don’t’- and they won’t.”[1]

All of these are common themes for those who work in the field of suicide prevention. We may know more now than they did then, but it appears we have been preaching much of the same information for decades.

I’m shaken because the field of suicide prevention, with all our progression and all our research, is still struggling for relevancy, still fighting myths and misconceptions fueled by a stigma that won’t fade.

Gunther warns that youth suicide rates had doubled in the last ten years. Well in the last forty, they’ve done more than that. Suicide is now the number two killer of adolescents aged 15-24 in Oklahoma or US. In 2011, the most recent year for which we have data, 4,822 youth, ages 15-24, died by suicide.[2]

From our own work in schools, we know that almost 30% of students report that they or their friends have experienced suicidal thoughts. This is a problem because, even now, with all the resources available, suicide is still largely stigmatized, largely underreported, and one of the most misunderstood and misconceived mental health topics.

It’s timely that we have come across this article now because our newest initiative serves to address these exact problems. Time to Talk’s entire mission is geared at bringing the issue of suicide into the public discourse. Our hope is that by normalizing the discussion of mental health, we can eliminate the barrier that stigma has put between help and those who need it most.

It’s time to turn the tides so that, in another 50 years, we can say that things have changed for the better. That’s why HeartLine, with both helplines and outreach services, is working diligently to provide Oklahoman’s with help, hope, and information 24/7.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline is free, confidential, and available 24/7. Lifeline Crisis Chat is also available Monday – Friday 4p.m. to 12 a.m. at www.heartlineoklahoma.org

[1] Saturday Evening Post;6/17/1967, Vol. 240 Issue 12, p86

[2] American Association of Suicidology 2011 Youth Suicidal Behavior

This blog is brought to you by Kayley Saunders, School Based Prevention Coordinator.

Apr 30, 2014

By HeartLine Administrator

Suicide Prevention: There’s an App for That!



It seems like there’s an app for everything these days. Many of us rely on our apps to give us easy access to information such as weather, maps, news, email, music, and social media. Smartphones have surged in popularity in recent years- a recent study found that about two thirds of American cell phone users now own smartphones. For smartphone users, mobile applications have become ingrained in our daily lives because of their ease of access, convenience, and specialized functionality. Now there’s also an app for Oklahomans to get help for suicide.


HeartLine’s new suicide prevention phone application, HELP Prevent Suicide by Staplegun, is available through a free download on Android and iPhone devices. The application provides common warning signs of suicide, how to help a person at risk of suicide, helpful links, and a list of crisis centers throughout the state of Oklahoma. Additionally, it provides a way to easily and quickly call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or access HeartLine’s chat service within the app.















We urge you to take a moment and download our new app. When you, a friend, or loved one are in crisis, a shortcut to the right help can make a huge difference in the outcome. Learn easy steps to help prevent suicide in your community right now. Use the QR code shown above or search for the app for Androids or iPhones.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline is free, confidential, and available 24/7. Lifeline Crisis Chat is also available Monday – Friday 4p.m. to 12 a.m. at www.heartlineoklahoma.org

This blog is brought to you by Rachel Yates, Director of Suicide Prevention.


Suicide is an issue that touches the lives of many Oklahomans. In 2010, 618 Oklahomans died by suicide. In addition to those who die from suicide each year, many others attempt it and large numbers of individuals consider it at some time in their lives. Suicide also takes a heavy toll on the loved ones who are left behind when someone ends their life.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people in Oklahoma aged 10 to 24. The high rates of youth suicide in our state require us to work together to help prevent it. Collaboration with community partners is one of the best approaches to addressing the public health issue of suicide. In August of 2013, HeartLine partnered with the University of Central Oklahoma to provide suicide prevention presentations to college students with the HELP initiative. HELP, Healthy Education for Life Program, is HeartLine’s youth suicide prevention outreach initiative. HELP consists of interactive, in-class presentations by trained facilitators.

HELP presentations are now provided in all Healthy Life Skills classes at UCO. The course is mandatory for freshmen students. Students are taught how to seek assistance with a 3-step action plan of Ask, Listen, Tell. HELP teaches young people how to use local resources, such as 2-1-1, 9-1-1, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. HELP also encourages UCO students to utilize services at the Student Counseling Center when needed. HELP’s objectives include dispelling the stigma of getting assistance for mental health and suicide, empowering young people to take action, and learning common warning signs of suicide.

The expansion of HELP at UCO has allowed thousands of local college freshmen to receive valuable suicide prevention information. The skills and knowledge learned in HELP presentations empower students to help prevent suicide among themselves and their peers, friends, and loved ones. Last semester, HELP reached 1,516 students at UCO with 41 presentations. HeartLine looks forward to continuing its partnership with UCO to reach more students in the spring semester.

For more information about HELP, visit our Suicide Prevention and Outreach page. If you are concerned about yourself or someone you care about, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 for free, confidential help at 800-273-8255. HeartLine answers the Lifeline for 76 of 77 counties in Oklahoma.

This blog is brought to you by Rachel Yates, Director of Suicide Prevention & Outreach Programs.

Nov 18, 2013

By HeartLine Administrator

International Survivors of Suicide Day 2013

Every day, someone in Oklahoma dies by suicide, leaving friends and family behind to try to make sense of a tragic loss. In Oklahoma, suicide is also the 2nd leading cause of death for young people aged 10-24. Losing someone you know to suicidal acts can bring a kaleidoscope of emotions and reactions. Surviving the loss of someone to suicide is not an easy experience. The questions you ask, the way you mourn, and the thoughts you process are all filtered through a very unique kind of lens. You are not alone; help, hope, and resources are available.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is hosting an event that offers a safe and healing environment for the loved ones affected by suicide. Every year, survivors of suicide loss gather together in locations around the world to feel a sense of community, to promote healing, and to connect with others who have had similar experiences ( https://www.afsp.org/survivorday ). This year International Survivors of Suicide Day is on Saturday, November 23, 2013. The day will be hosted, for the first time in Oklahoma, at the University of Central Oklahoma.

The event has been brought to our community by the efforts of the Edmond Suicide Prevention Taskforce. As a member of this taskforce and an accredited member of the American Association of Suicidolgy, HeartLine impacts our community by answering calls from 76 Oklahoma counties on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK and provides referrals through 2-1-1 to link people who need help to people who can give help. We are also available on crisis chat M-F 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. at www.heartlineoklahoma.org . For a special preview of 2013 International Survivors of Suicide Day, check out this video link from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Please remember that here at HeartLine, we are available 24/7/365 to provide help, hope and information. For information about HELP, HeartLine’s youth suicide prevention initiative, visit our dedicated Suicide Prevention and Outreach page.

This blog is brought to you by Azure Herrera, Community Resource Specialist.


We are excited to share some great news! HeartLine has recently received Crisis Center Accreditation with the American Association of Suicidology. AAS accreditation validates service delivery programs that are performing according to nationally recognized standards.

The American Association of Suicidology accreditation process recognizes exemplary crisis programs throughout the nation. AAS standards are in place to guide organizations who serve persons in crisis. In order to become accredited, AAS conducted an extensive examination of several components of our organization including policies and procedures, general service delivery, ethical standards, services in life-threatening situations, and community integration.

People in life-threatening and other crises who obtain service from HeartLine can be assured that AAS has seriously examined our commitment to provide service according to recognized standards. Kelly Nutter, HeartLine’s Executive Director, states

 HeartLine is dedicated to following standards of excellence when serving Oklahomans in crisis and we are proud to receive this distinguished honor.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis please call 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or connect with us on chat at www.heartlineoklahoma.org.



From January to April 2013, the U.S. military recorded 161 potential suicides among active-duty troops, reservists and National Guard members at a pace of about one suicide about every 18 hours.

Last year, self-inflicted military deaths outstripped the number of troops killed in combat. There was one suicide every 17 hours among all active-duty personnel. Suicides among active-duty troops hit a record high with 349 total suicides reported in 2012. Last year’s total is the highest since the Pentagon began tracking suicides in 2001. This number exceeds the 295 Americans who died in Afghanistan last year.

The number of suicides the military has suffered in recent years has brought new initiatives and programs aimed at stemming the increase in suicides. However, advocates fear the rate will climb in the coming years as more troops are brought home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

HeartLine has Call Specialists on duty around the clock to address any concerns or issues from active military, veterans and families.  If you or someone you know are looking for assistance, call 2-1-1 today to be connected to local community resources. Together we can bring awarness to a growing public health problem and fight the battle of suicide among our troops.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


This blog is brought to you by Danielle Harris, Call Center Coordinator

Do you often have questions about your child’s education that your school officials can’t answer? Would you like someone to explain the graduation requirements for your child beginning high school?

The Oklahoma State Department of Education is hosting its Second Annual Parent Power Night at Vision 2020 scheduled for July 9, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. The event will feature presentations over a variety of topics that parents may need information. Some topics to be covered include: Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE) – Graduation Requirements, Third Grade Reading, Internet Safety, Early Childhood Literacy, Funding Your Child’s College Education, Career Technology for Your Child, Raising Your Schools Grade Together, Suicide Prevention, Rachel’s Challenge – Columbine Parent Support Group, and Helping your Child Deal with Tragedy.

The sessions are free and open for parents, grandparents, family members, and guardians of all grade level students in Oklahoma. Anyone wanting to attend the Parent Power sessions needs to register for the conference at the following link:  http://ok.gov/sde/vision2020. Please mark “Parent and Community Engagement” as the educational track that bests fits your interest, that you are a “Parent”, and that you will be attending “Parent Power Night”, July 9, 2013 in your registration. 

For more information, please contact Melodie Fulmer, Executive Director of Parent and Community Engagement at (405) 522-6225 or by email at Melodie.Fulmer@sde.ok.gov

Apple and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline have announced an update to iPhones that will allow users to more easily connect to the Lifeline. When the iOS digital assistant Siri is presented with a user that indicates he or she is considering suicide, the program will offer to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Before this most recent addition, Siri could show the locations of centers but not offer to call them.

The change was brought about when Lifeline staff became aware of a YouTube video that features a woman seeking assistance for suicidal thoughts on the iPhone. The woman tried several ways of asking Siri to find help for depression or suicide. Siri repeatedly replied that she did not understand. Lifeline staff was alarmed after viewing the video and contacted Apple to work on a solution. Apple executives agreed that an update was critical.

If Siri receives a query that suggests a user may be considering suicide, it will now prompt the individual to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and offer to phone the hotline directly. If the prompt is dismissed, Siri will then display a list of suicide prevention centers closest to the user’s location.

Apple and Lifeline staff collaborated with other suicide prevention organizations to identify key words and phrases that might indicate suicidal intent. Siri’s new offering is activated by statements such as “I’m going to jump off a bridge,” or “I think I want to kill myself.”

The change to Siri’s recommendations will be a feature in both iOS 6 and iOS 7. On devices without a calling feature, such as the iPad and the iPod touch, Siri will list and read off the NSPL phone number and will then search for nearby suicide prevention centers.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255).

Dec 27, 2012

By HeartLine Administrator

A Real Story From The HeartLine Call Center

Even over the holidays, HeartLine call specialists are here 24 hours a day offering compassionate listening, crisis intervention, and resource referrals! Here is a great example of a real story from the call center:

A distraught woman called 2-1-1 looking for some resources in her area and during the course of conversation, the call specialist recognized the caller’s thoughts of suicide, provided compassionate listening, gave appropriate referrals, and scheduled a follow-up call. During the follow-up call a few days later, the woman expressed gratitude for the compassion and encouragement she received during her initial call. She credited the call specialist with saving her life!

She reported that she is doing much better, is seeing a therapist, and has decided to make some life changes. She shared that she decided to relocate closer to her family and support system.

That woman was empowered to make some changes in her life after being connected to help and hope when she needed it most. HeartLine 2-1-1 truly is making a difference in the lives of people in our community!

Need help and don’t know who to call? Call 2-1-1 to get connected to help, hope, and information 24 hours a day!

This blog brought to you by Janice McCaslin, Office Manager

Dec 10, 2012

By HeartLine Administrator

Myth Busted! Rate of Suicide is Not Highest at the Holidays

We receive the question on a regular basis, “Does HeartLine’s call volume increase during the holiday season due to the increased rates of suicide?” This is a common question and is tied to a common belief that suicide rates are highest during the holidays. HeartLine has been honored to partner with the National Suicide Prevention Lifelines and provide these services to Oklahomans since 1997. Over that time we have not observed a significant increase in call volume during the holidays.

In reality, our highest call volume on the Lifelines occurs in the spring, which is consistent with findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Center for Health Statistics within the CDC reports that suicide rates are actually at their lowest in December and peak during the spring and fall. Click here to read more from the CDC related to holiday suicides.

December is a time where many families come together and people feel more connected and cared for. No matter what time of year it is, we encourage you to take time to connect with your friends and family. Listening and offering support throughout the year can make you a safe person to turn to and can really make a difference for someone else.

While the myth may not be based on facts, suicide is an important topic to bring awareness to year round. Help is available and with help comes hope. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, HeartLine is here to listen 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-TALK.

This blog brought to you by Matt Cordray, COO