September is suicide prevention month
TEXOMA (KTEN) -- "Suicidal thoughts are something that can effect anyone, and these thoughts should be taken seriously," said counselor at Austin College and Texoma Specialty Counseling, Jimmy Wilkins.
With September being suicide prevention month, there's an emphasis on raising awareness.
"This month is an opportunity for us to change the narrative on public perception of suicide and to spread hope and to spread the important information to help those to seek help," said Wilkins.
Any drastic change in behavior can be an early warning sign.
"Another sign is they're not taking care of their wellness or their overall health. Maybe they're giving away personal belongings that mean a lot to them," Wilkins said.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among children and young adults, which Oklahoma lawmakers are trying to address with Senate Bill 1307.
"What this bill tries to try help with the suicide, and since the pandemic, it's raised," said Representative JJ Humphrey (R- District 19). They have a hotline number, a suicidal assistance."
Beginning next year, the law will require Oklahoma schools to print on their student ID, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number, 9-8-8, for students in seventh grade and up.
"You actually have a number that you can reach out to and call and receive help and talk to to help to prevent suicide," said Humphrey.
Wilkins says the best way to help someone struggling with suicidal thoughts is. to be there for them with no judgment involved.
"Being with them through out it, and maybe taking them to a professional or even helping them to set up an appointment."