Farmers and ranchers have the highest rate of suicide by any occupational group by more than 30 percent. The rate of suicide is higher than veterans returning from war.
“It really does have to stop,” said Lucinda Morte, our SunBridge clinical coordinator.
So, what can be done to end this suicide crisis in the farmland?
“Some of the solutions of really addressing this issue is to break down the stigma around mental illness and suicide,” Lucinda said. “Our goal is to be able to really talk and have these open communications with our rural communities. We really need to talk about how people are feeling.”
A key piece is knowing the warning signs of suicide, Lucinda said. For instance, a change in a friend or loved one’s mood, or noticing the person giving away possessions that they normally wouldn’t give away, or maybe even gaining access to firearms.
Another essential tool in helping to prevent farmers from dying by suicide is attending a free suicide prevention training known as Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR). It’s basically the mental health version of CPR. A part of the training includes teaching someone how to ask one of the toughest questions there is: Are you thinking about killing yourself?
“The QPR training addresses any barriers or questions in terms of asking those tough questions,” Lucinda said, “and then being able to get people to the help that they need.”
Want to schedule a QPR training?
While the national average of suicides has risen by 30 percent across the nation since 1999, here in Oklahoma, the suicide rate has gone up 37 percent. This is too big to ignore.
Call us at 918.585.1213 or 405.943.3700 to schedule a QPR training for your business, school, faith community or civic organization.
Our next training is September 22 at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center, 100 N. Water Ave. Tahlequah, OK 74464. The event is open to all members of the public 18 years or older.
Are you worried about someone?
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You may also utilize the National Crisis Text Line. Just text “Help” to 741741.
Warning Signs of Suicide
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as 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.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.