The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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April 27, 2013

Surviving suicide: Local task force works to eliminate suicide

ENID, Okla. — Garfield County Suicide Prevention Task Force is focused on eliminating suicide in the county by educating the community, increasing awareness, decreasing the stigma and providing support and resources.

Survivors of attempted suicide open up, tell their stories to further prevention

The task force is a small core group made up of mental health professionals and prevention specialists.

Task force members have delivered education and prevention programs to area middle and high school students and to adults in the community. The programs have reached nearly 1,000 people and provide education and awareness about suicide and information on warning signs and what they can do if they fear someone close to them is suicidal.

“It is a difficult subject to talk about, but it’s important we keep the dialogue active,” said Tippi Rasp, chairwoman of GCSPTF and a licensed professional counselor with Youth & Family Services of North Central Oklahoma. “That’s really the only way prevention can work.”

Counselors from Youth & Family Services who are on the task force have been called on to provide the programs by school counselors and administrators from the area after a suicide by a student at their school.

“We couldn’t be more encouraged by the schools who have sought out help in dealing with the aftermath of a suicide,” Rasp said. “I think it shows that stigmas are decreasing just by their willingness to start a dialogue about it.

“We are super excited about some things coming up, too. We are planning our first 5K the last Saturday in August. We’re not necessarily trying to raise money through this 5K, but promote awareness. We hope to have the downtown streets filled with runners wearing our shirts and supporting the cause.”

The task force just got a new logo, thanks to Lydia Davis, a student in Cheryl Cooksey’s graphic arts class at Autry Technology Center. The students took the information provided by the task force and had a contest to design the logo.

There currently is no support group specifically for family of those who have completed suicide, but the task force is working on it. One of members has submitted a funding request to United Way that would help train a facilitator and get the group up and running.

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