988 MENTAL HEALTH LICENSE PLATE WILL FUND SUICIDE PREVENTION EFFORTS
Suicide is the 2nd Leading Cause of Death for Ages 10-34 in Oklahoma
The Alliance of Mental Health Providers of Oklahoma invites the public to raise awareness about the new national mental health lifeline by purchasing the new 988 speciality license plate.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) & Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), Oklahoma ranks 7th in the nation for its high suicide rate. Suicide is the:
- 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-34
- 4th leading cause of death for ages 35-44
- 5th leading cause of death for ages 45-54
- 8th leading cause of death for ages 55-64
- 16th leading cause of death for ages 65+
Overall, suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in Oklahoma.
“Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in Oklahoma,” said Verna Foust, Co-Founder and President of the Alliance of Mental Health Providers of Oklahoma. Foust, who also serves as CEO of Red Rock Behavioral Health Services, co-founded the Alliance in 2020, to advocate for better mental health and substance abuse treatment in Oklahoma.
“As the state’s largest network of mental health providers, our board deals with the tragedy of suicide every day. With the 988 license plate we have an opportunity to create moving billboards of hope all across our state. We want people to know support is available and to be reminded in the darkest moments of life that they can call 988 and talk to someone.”
The Alliance hopes to sell 150,000 988 license plates. All proftis will fund suicide prevention efforts across the state.
About 988 Oklahoma
According to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges, 988 is a game-changer for mental health services in Oklahoma. The 988 system improves access to resources and services for those needing mental health care, suicide intervention, or support for addiction. It is, essentially, a three-digit lifeline that helps Oklahomans will receive the services they need when needed. It also offers hope and assistance to anyone experiencing a crisis, suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety and more.
Each time an individual contacts 988, there is free and confidential help on the other end. Operators of this lifeline are trained to provide conversational support or dispatch mobile crisis teams if the situation requires in-person assistance. Those reaching out will be connected to a mental health professional to talk through what’s going on and get the resources needed for either themself or a loved one.
In Oklahoma, 90% of calls are stabilized over the phone; however, if more help is needed, dispatchers or mobile crisis teams can set up appointments at nearby Urgent Recovery and Crisis Centers for those who need to visit with a trained behavioral specialist. If this is the case, transportation will be provided to help Oklahomans in need safely arrive at an Urgent Recovery and Crisis Center.
Urgent Recovery and Crisis Centers offer accessible mental health and substance abuse care where people can stabilize and receive professional help during a crisis. Functioning much like a hospital ER, Urgent Recovery and Crisis Centers accept 24/7/365 walk-ins, as well as ambulance, fire and police drop-offs.
Learn more about the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and 988oklahoma.com.