Ozark Center program takes a new approach to suicide prevention


“He tried to reach out to me that night and and I thought, ‘Oh I’ll call him in the morning,’ and the morning, I did not have that opportunity to talk to him again,” explained Webb City mother Jacque Christmas.

Christmas says her son then tried talking to his grandmother.

“She had never been trained in QPR, so she didn’t know to ask the question. If she had known maybe, maybe not,” Christmas added.

Now she’s at a training session focused on identifying warning signs and helping someone who shows them.

“There a sometimes subtle changes, sometimes drastic changes — their mood may change. They may be very irritable and grouchy or they may be very sad and tearful,” explained Debbie Fitzgerald with Ozark Center Crisis Services.

The group also hopes to raise awareness outside the training session.

A biodegradable balloon launch recognized both lives lost and others whose lives are affected.

It’s just a visual reminder that there is help.

“You could seek out a primary care physician and start there if you feel more comfortable,” said Fitzgerald. “If you feel like emailing or texting, we have that program available as well.”

Those Joplin resources includes an Ozark Center Crisis Hotline at (417)347-7720 along with several others listed on their website.

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