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Commissioners proclaim September as Suicide Prevention and Recovery Month

Monday, September 11, 2023 - On Tuesday, September 5, the Sequoyah County Board of Commissioners signed a proclamation declaring the month of September as suicide prevention and recovery month.

The reason for the proclamation is to raise awareness surrounding suicide-related deaths and to assure residents that resources are available.

Youth and family service counselor and coordinator at People Inc., Lindsie Dyer, said, "In the state of Oklahoma, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10–34 and the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 35–44. I feel like mental health needs to be assessed at a younger age. When children go to school, they receive screenings for hearing, speech, vision, and physical health; however, students' mental health tends to go unrecognized. Mental health still has that "stigma" surrounding it and is something schools should have addressed a long time ago."

During the consideration of resolutions, bids, and contracts portion of the meeting, commissioners approved the annual memorandum of agreement by and between the Cherokee Nation and Sequoyah County.

In addition, there was approval of an interlocal agreement between the county of Sequoyah, the town of Roland in District #1, and the town of Vian in District #2.

Representatives from the Sallisaw NOW Coalition provided an update on issues surrounding drug-related abuse and overdoses during the citizen's presentation.

Sallisaw NOW Coalition special projects coordinator Heather Silva stated, "Recently, we received our new data, and unfortunately, Oklahoma is headed in the wrong direction."

The Sallisaw NOW coalition is located in the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce building and offers a variety of resources to assist in combating drug overdose-related deaths in Sequoyah County.

"We have an open-door policy for anyone seeking resources such as Narcan, medication lock boxes hidden in plain sight (a mock bedroom for parents of teens to walk through), or information regarding the drug crisis our county and state are facing," Silva added.

In new business, commissioners approved signing and completing the FY 2023 Emergency Management Performance Grant application. The grant would provide $10,000 for payroll reimbursement.

Lindsie Dyer, KXMX Staff Writer

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