(Stillwater, Okla.) — This article is the first in a series highlighting the 22 nonprofit partner organizations supported by the
United Way of Payne County. United Way is dedicated to improving the lives of people in Payne County by investing donated dollars in nonprofit organizations that focus on promoting education, improving health, and reducing poverty. poverty.
This week’s partner agency spotlight is Payne County Youth Services (PCYS).
According to the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the second leading cause of premature death among people aged 14 to 34. Oklahoma ranks sixteenth in the nation for suicide deaths.
Payne County Youth Services aims to combat these statistics with their Building a Competent Community for Suicide Prevention training program. The program is open to the community. It began in October 2018 with the need to respond to suicides and attempted suicides in local schools and the daily work of PCYS programs. “The statistics are horrific, but suicide is the single most preventable cause of premature death,” said Janet Fultz, CEO of PCYS. “Since suicide is often preventable, it means there is hope for better outcomes, space for awareness and that this program can really make a positive difference.”
The program teaches the skills needed to enable individuals to identify those at risk of suicide, intervene and get help. PCYS offers the program as a free training course that usually lasts around an hour. PCYS has provided this evidence-based training to thousands of people, including staff and teachers at public schools in Stillwater, Cushing, Perkins-Tryon, Yale, Ripley and Glencoe. PCYS also has staff who visit all of these schools once a week to provide counseling services.
“Anyone can benefit from suicide prevention training,” Fultz said. “The more people trained, the lower the number of suicides will be and the more lives will be saved. We encourage community members to be part of this vital training.
Fultz said we can all play a role in suicide prevention. “Research shows that the smallest connection can interrupt the process of suicidal thoughts and prevent someone from acting on them,” she said. “Sharing a smile, a kind word or giving thanks to someone we don’t even know can have a positive impact. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they are thinking about suicide. Research indicates that we don’t “plant” the idea in someone’s mind, and acknowledging that we see their pain can actually be affirming and protective.
Individuals or businesses interested in suicide prevention training, or those in need of services, can contact PCYS at 405-377-3380. PCYS also operates a 24/7 crisis line ensuring immediate access to services and assistance. The crisis line is 405-377-1452. Information is also available at www.pcys.org or on social media.
Founded in 1972, PCYS celebrates 50 years of service on June 9 from 4-6 p.m. at the Stillwater Community Center at 315 W 8th Ave, Stillwater. All are invited to attend a welcome reception.
PCYS offers free mental health and addictions treatment, emergency youth shelter, transitional housing, crisis services and much more. Their programming is designed to help children, youth, young adults and families improve their overall quality of life.
When you donate to United Way of Payne County, you support the incredible work of PCYS and 21 other nonprofit organizations, which collectively help more than 21,000 individuals and families each year. Centraide has been serving the community for more than 70 years. To learn more or donate, visit www.unitedwaypaynecounty.org or call 405-377-2161.