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Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

If at any point you or someone you know needs immediate help, call 988.


“History student. Pool, basketball and campus golf player. Devoted Christian and friend.

These are just a handful of roles Isaac Neff played during his time at Oklahoma Christian University, according to those who knew him well. Neff, a sophomore from College Station, TX, was found dead Thursday, Jan. 23, (2020), in his Fails dorm room.”


From a global scale to peers on campus, mental health is a serious topic and can often be a hidden struggle. Sheldon Adkins, director of university counseling services at Oklahoma Christian University, speaks about this and how to help.

“We typically have between 300-330 different students who come in for at least one session during the fall/spring semesters,” Adkins said. “We average between 1200-1700 sessions per year.”

Oklahoma Christian typically enrolls about 2,000 students a year, meaning about 15 percent, or one in six students, use the provided counseling services.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, but what is there to be aware of?

Globally, more than 700,000 people die to suicide every year according to the World Health Organization. Nationally, an estimated 12.2 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million planned an attempt, and 1.2 million attempted taking their own life in 2020 according to the CDC. In Oklahoma, an estimated 826 people committed suicide in 2019 according to America’s Health Rankings.

National suicide rates are also climbing, having increased 33 percent between 1999 and 2019.

Why has suicide become more common?

“There are several potential reasons for the increased rate of suicide. This includes increased rates of depression, undiagnosed and under-treated mental illness, more isolation from others and less connection to others, to name a few.”

At what point would you recommend people seek counseling?

“In general, most people attend counseling once a problem begins to interfere with their ability to function in life. In the case of suicidal ideation and especially an attempt, it is important people receive care immediately and until they are no longer a threat of harm to themselves.”

How can others help / what should they be aware of?

“Get educated about the symptoms of depression and someone contemplating suicide. ASIST and QPR (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training and Question Persuade Refer) are excellent ways for people to know how to help someone who is suicidal. Be a good listener, don’t be judgmental and get someone to appropriate help.”

How useful is counseling? Is it useful to go when you’re not in “need” of it?

“Some people do seek out help before an issue begins to interfere or is only a minor interference. It can be very useful to learn skills to keep something from being a problem or learning to think or behave more rationally.”

Is there anything else students should know?

“Call 988 if you or someone you care about needs immediate help. Contact our office at 405-425-5250 or email to make an appointment with one of our counselors.”

The first session at Oklahoma Christian’s counseling center is free and the fees can be lowered or waived if students are unable to afford the fee after the first session.

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