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September Recognized as Suicide Prevention and Recovery Awareness Month

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Resources, training and more offered to Oklahomans to raise awareness for suicide prevention and substance use recovery support

September is National Suicide Prevention and Recovery Awareness Month, and ODMHSAS is encouraging Oklahomans to learn the warning signs of suicide and raise awareness of recovery options for those battling a substance use disorder.

In the past year, a staggering 4.1% of adults in Oklahoma had serious thoughts of suicide, with one in 10 students reporting attempted suicide. Additionally, nearly 300,000 Oklahomans report having a substance use disorder each year.

“Mental illness adversely affects thought processes, relationships, productivity and ability to adapt to change or face adversity which leads to an increase in suicide deaths and substance use disorders,” ODMHSAS Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges said. “Utilizing the tools we have in place, like the 988 Oklahoma Mental Health Lifeline, free Naloxone, support resources and training programs, we can work together as a community to decrease the number of suicides in Oklahoma and raise awareness of pathways to recovery from substance use disorder.”

In 2022, 872 Oklahomans died by suicide. Approximately 45% of those who died by suicide in the last year saw a primary care physician within 30 days of death, 83% received health care services in the year prior and more than 40% received a mental health diagnosis. However, less than one percent of those saw a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, connecting that evidenced-based treatment services available in Oklahoma work when utilized.

“Everyone has a role in preventing suicide. No matter who you are, you can help save a life by knowing the warning signs and understanding what to do when recognizing someone is at risk,” Slatton-Hodges continued.

Early identification and treatment can make a profound difference in successfully managing suicidal thoughts and inspiring recovery from substance use disorder. There are safe, effective and lifesaving tools available to those in need.

ODMHSAS offers several community-led initiatives for suicide prevention, including Support for Service Members, Veterans and their Families with Cohen’s Veteran Network and Eagle Ops, the Ask for Backup program and the Warriors Rest Foundation for first responders, the Are You OK? program for businesses and suicide prevention training through the Oklahoma Faith Network.

Are You OK? is a two-part e-learning program intended for adults who serve as organizational owners, managers, supervisors and human resources staff to learn how to prevent and respond to suicide in the workplace. After completing the e-learning, participants can take action to prevent suicide in the workplace.

In September, ODMHSAS is offering free workplace suicide prevention training to Oklahoma businesses and interested organizations. To set up the training, please email

Additionally, the ODMHSAS Training Institute provides numerous other mental health and addiction training and educational events throughout the year to partners, professional care providers and the community. ODMHSAS trainings help others take learning and professional development into their own hands by providing easy access to training and quality education on behavioral health and substance use topics.

An online catalog of instructor-led and on-demand courses and conferences supporting increasing awareness, personal development, continuing education and professional growth can be found on the ODMHSAS Training Institute page.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call or text the 988 Oklahoma Mental Health Lifeline, a free and confidential service that provides immediate support for those experiencing a mental health or substance use need.

For more information on Suicide Prevention and Recovery Awareness Month and available resources, visit

ODMHSAS Communications

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