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Sen. Floyd to study youth suicide

Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd plans to study youth suicide during the interim as suicide rates across the state continue to skyrocket. Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, approved the three study requests earlier this month.

“Statistically speaking, we’re seeing a drastic rise in youth suicide rates in Oklahoma across all zip codes,” said Floyd, D-Oklahoma City. “It’s imperative that we take a deep dive into the issues causing youth suicide, what programs are in place to combat it, and what we can do legislatively to improve outcomes in the future.”

Floyd said each study will take an overarching look at the problem from a different lens, so all sides of the issue are adequately understood. The studies will include:

  • A review of statistical data involving cases of youth suicide, including race, gender, geographic and economic stability, as well as the public and private initiatives currently in place to reduce youth suicide.
  • A look at the top categories of child death in the state as reported by the Child Death Review Board. Discussions will center on how policy changes could help reduce different causes of death.
  • Analysis of the significant growth of pediatric suicide deaths and hospitalizations since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the state can better respond to this crisis. This study will be held jointly with Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Oklahoma’s suicide rate ranks significantly higher than the national average,” Floyd said. “It’s clear we have a mental health crisis in our state, and we must do everything in our power to bring this issue to light and work together to find solutions to this escalating problem.”

The studies were assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and now await scheduling by the committee chairman.