COPES for Kids (C4K) – Community Outreach Psychiatric Emergency Services/Suicide Help

F&CS provides hope and a path to recovery for individuals battling mental illness and addiction.

Alarming numbers of children and teens in our Tulsa community contemplate or attempt suicide each year. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Oklahoma youth ages 10-24 (31% higher than the national rate). Tulsa has one of the highest rates of mental illness in the nation and ranks 15th for suicide – this is the unmet need! F&CS knows that in a crisis, the quick response of highly-trained professionals can mean the difference between tragedy and a chance for healing/recovery. For 2 decades, F&CS has been a life-saver as the leading provider of 24/7 phone and mobile crisis response services in Tulsa County through our widely known COPES (Community Outreach Psychiatric Emergency Services) program. In 2004, due to increased suicide rates among youth, we developed a new specialized team, COPES for Kids (C4K). This team respond to calls and goes mobile for youth at high risk of suicide, self-harm or psychosis - saving hundreds of lives each year, but there are more to save!

State Farm funding will help us meet increased demand for the COPES for Kids phone/mobile crisis response. During the past school year, our focus on suicide prevention awareness building and staff training in schools resulted in a near doubling of the number of school children served by C4K. We anticipate these numbers will continue to grow due to last year’s addition of a Youth Suicide Prevention Specialist coupled with enhanced marketing, outreach and training efforts. Our ultimate goal is to reduce suicide rates for Tulsa County youth by having 70% of children/youth served (1,200) in fiscal year 2020 as de-escalated and stabilized in place rather than needing to be transported to costlier and inappropriate interventions (jail; medical facility including emergency departments; or an inpatient mental health hospital). Your $25,000 support will help to save the lives of children and youth in our community, which is priceless.

COPES added a Youth Suicide Prevention Specialist and received funding to enhance marketing efforts and community-based suicide prevention training, with an ultimate goal of increasing awareness of where to go for help. C4K staff provided training (including Question Persuade Refer) and/or resources to 8,000+ community members through 33 community groups/schools and presentations. Billboards, bus signage, and utility stuffers are now a part of COPES/C4K’s awareness building strategy. Enhanced marketing and outreach efforts have resulted in more community members learning how to reach out for help. As a result, C4K’s calls have increased 47% resulting in a corresponding increase in demand for mobile crisis response. The ultimate goals of C4K are to reduce the youth suicide rate in Tulsa County, to restore the functionality and well-being of child clients and their families, and to reduce the need for hospitalization and out-of-home placements. This lasting impact is life changing!

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