The Norman Transcript

Headlines

August 28, 2013

Suicide rate for Oklahoma veterans, active-duty military sees incline

(Continued)

NORMAN —

One reason for the increase in suicides has been older veterans observing the experiences of soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, said retired Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon, Oklahoma secretary of military and veterans affairs. These older veterans are in high suicide-risk age groups. Seeing younger soldiers experience the horrors of war and experience post-combat trauma opens old wounds, she said.

In Oklahoma, the demographic group most at risk for suicide consists of white males between the ages of 40 and 60, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The increased number of suicides in the state could be attributed in part to the large number of white veterans reaching that age bracket.

Contributing factors could include repeated deployments and separation from families and friends, said Mike Brose, director of the Mental Health Association in Tulsa. These experiences cause some military service members to withdraw, abuse alcohol and other substances and neglect their responsibilities, Brose said.

Families who see suicidal indicators such as these should ask military family members if they are thinking of hurting themselves, persuade them to seek help and refer them to an appropriate agency, he said.

This QPR method — question, persuade and refer — empowers everyone to be on the lookout for people thinking of suicide, Brose said.

“There will never be enough health professionals to stem the tide,” he said. “We need to educate the general public to get them the confidence and tools in the toolbox to intervene with their loved ones.”

Brose cited programs such as Tulsa’s Coffee Bunker, which provides a place for veterans and service members to come together to talk over coffee and snacks. It’s a better alternative, he said, than meeting at a bar to swap war stories.

Once a veteran is identified as at-risk, the suicide prevention team at the nearest VA facility will work to find the right care, said Juanita Celie, suicide prevention coordinator at the Oklahoma City VA Hospital.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Water Reclamation Wastewater upgrade under way

    Norman’s $63 million water reclamation facility upgrade is under way. Once known as a sewer plant, the facility’s moniker reflects the current trend in water reuse and treatment that’s crossing the United States....

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Okla. City museum shows pigeons in positive light

    OKLAHOMA CITY — It wasn’t long after Lorrie Monteiro started her new gig as curator of the American Pigeon Museum that she started to wonder, “What have I done?” Monteiro had experience working at museums but knew almost nothing about the ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Bicycle Racks Five more bike racks installed downtown

    Public art was installed Thursday along east Main Street in historic downtown Norman. Five colorful art pieces aren’t just for looks. The musical notes, dream catcher, fork and spoon, scissortail flycatcher and a bent arrow also are bike ...

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet the Sooners on Saturday

    Meet the Sooners Day will be Saturday at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The annual, free event kicks off preseason practice and gives University of Oklahoma fans an opportunity to interact with their favorite players and ...

    August 1, 2014

  • OKC man charged with rape

    After being brutally raped and kidnapped for four days, a woman escaped and called 911 last week, which led to charges against an Oklahoma City man. Zohaib Sahibzada Dastgir, 28, was charged with three counts of first-degree rape, two ...

    August 1, 2014

  • One killed when shipping container falls onto vehicle

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City police say one person was killed when a shipping container was knocked from an Oklahoma National Guard vehicle and landed on a pickup truck....

    August 1, 2014

  • Target taps outsider as CEO for shakeup

    NEW YORK — Target is bringing in an outsider as its CEO for the first time as the retailer fights to redefine itself to American shoppers....

    August 1, 2014

  • Parks officials set to fog for mosquitoes in Norman

    Norman parks and recreation officials will fog for mosquitoes Saturday night in northeast Norman....

    August 1, 2014

  • New natural gas plant coming to south central area

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new plant projected to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day is coming to the Grady/Stephens county area....

    August 1, 2014

  • Motorists should watch for pedestrians

    With another school year approaching, the Norman Police Department wants motorists to be mindful of the increase in pedestrian and vehicle traffic. During the month of August, the Norman Police Department will concentrate resources in the ...

    August 1, 2014