NORMAN — A measure to help better address suicide in the state will soon be law. Gov. Fallin signed Senate Bill 181 last week.
The measure, by Sen. Kim David, will extend the Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Council until 2020 as well as increase the number of members to represent the special needs of more citizens in the state.
“Oklahoma’s suicide rate is 36 percent higher than the national average, and suicides outnumber homicides in our state by more than 3 to 1. One suicide is too many, and we must find a way to stop this type of tragic and senseless death in our state,” said David, R-Porter. “Suicide is an issue that affects all communities regardless of age, gender, race or economic status. This council is an important tool in helping our communities better address this growing problem and help our citizens.”
The bill would add six additional members to the committee, to include two members to represent military service members to be appointed by the Senate president pro tempore; two members representing Native American/Tribal members to be appointed by the House Speaker; and two members representing the medical community, including but not limited to licensed medical providers or hospital administrators, to be appointed by the governor.
“It was important to add these new members because they represent populations in which suicide rates are increasing or are dramatically higher than other populations,” said David, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
SB 181 will go into effect Nov. 1.