The Edmond Sun

January 7, 2013

Edmondites prep for suicide awareness race

Event proceeds to help start AFSP Okla. chapter

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Hundreds of purposeful Edmond runners are preparing for R3 when they will — run to remember, run to refuse and run for a reason.

During a two-week span in January 2012, three Edmond teenagers lost their lives to suicide. Their families, friends and the community were emotionally devastated.

The strength of the community shone throughout those dark times immediately following those tragic two weeks. The amount of love, caring and genuine kindness known to Edmond and Oklahoma City was prevalent all across the city.

Since then, more lives have been tragically cut short in Edmond and other communities across the state. They have been males and females of all age groups.

Edmond officers deal with mental health calls every day. In 2012, Edmond Police officers responded to 13 suicides and 55 attempted suicides, said Edmond Police Department spokeswoman Jenny Monroe. City officers also responded to 106 emergency detention calls and 49 other mental illness calls, Monroe said.

The department has officers on each shift specifically trained to handle mental health situations, Monroe said. It takes an enormous amount of time and effort to find the people in these situations a bed for evaluation and treatment.

There simply are not enough beds in the area on any given day, Monroe said.

“What the suicide and attempted suicide numbers don’t show you is the amount of people we take to a facility to be evaluated as an emergency detention incident,” she said. “They almost triple those who attempted suicide. These are people who are a threat to themselves or others and are in a state of crisis.”

R3 was created to remember the loved ones lost, to refuse to ever let this happen again and to realize that people are all here for a reason, organizers stated on the race’s website. They urged area residents to come celebrate life, family, friends and community on Saturday.

Early registration for the race ended Sunday. However, runners still will be able to register at the race. For more information about the event, visit foreveredmond.com.

The money raised from the event, which will feature a 5K, which starts at 10 a.m., and a 1 mile fun run/walk, which starts at 9:30 a.m., will help create Oklahoma’s first American Foundation for Suicide Prevention chapter in Oklahoma. The events will begin at Hafer Park, 1034 S. Bryant, pavilion No. 4.

Event sponsors are Red Coyote Running and Fitness, 5800 N. Classen Boulevard, Oklahoma City, where runners will pick up their running gear before the race from noon-6 p.m., Sara Sara Cupcakes, which has locations in Oklahoma City and Edmond, Iguana Mexican Grill, located in Oklahoma City, Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler, which has two locations in Edmond and University Silkscreen, located in Norman.

For assistance with mental health issues, call 2-1-1, HeartLine’s 24/7 information and referral line for health and human service needs. Callers can get help, hope and information from a database of more than 3,000 partner agencies and 6,000 individual services. Also, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a helpline answered by HeartLine in Oklahoma.



ABOUT THE AFSP

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and to those affected by suicide, according to information at the organization’s website: www.afsp.org.

In 1987, a number of leading experts on suicide came together with business and community leaders and survivors of suicide to form AFSP, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Many original founders were concerned with the alarming rise in youth suicide over the past four decades. During this period, the suicide of young men had tripled; that of young women had doubled. Suicide is now the second major cause of death among high school and college students. Suicide is even more frequent among older people. The highest rates are found in men older than 50, according to the AFSP.

Before it was formed, there was no national not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding the research and education programs necessary to prevent suicide.

They believed only a combined effort would make it possible to fund the research necessary for progress in the prevention of suicide. Such an approach has proven successful with heart disease, cancer and diabetes and it was hoped that it would be successful in dealing with depression and suicide, they reasoned.



marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108