State Police: Bullying and suicide reported most through OK2Say App

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FLINT (WJRT) (12/29/17) - Michigan State Police handled 6,000 tips from OK2Say this year.

The Michigan Attorney General's Office unveiled the program a few years ago.

It's intended to give students an anonymous way to report any issues they see or are experiencing themselves. They can go online, send a text or use the OK2Say app.

Clinical therapist Shuntai Walker said the program is critical.

"Most kids do not share information, especially if they're going through something, they kind of keep it inside and they're not able to share or feel like they can share with their parents," she said.

That is why Walker says most parents don't realize what their kids are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Of the 6,000 tips MSP received this year, the agency says the incidents most reported were bullying and threats of suicide.

Walker isn't surprised so many were about bullying, because kids can hurt each other through social media, not just face-to-face.

Walker added bullying can lead to suicide . She said suicide is actually the third leading cause of death among 10 to 14 year olds in Michigan.

So Walker said parents have to be able to communicate and look for signs like changes in eating, activities and grades.

"Sometimes there are things that we can't handle as parents at home," she said. "Don't feel like you want to blame yourself or feel guilty or shameful about it. Seek some type of professional help so you can get over it and your child can get over the symptoms of depression and also suicide."

OK2Say tips are sent to trained mental health professionals who can talk through the issue with the person reporting.

If the person is considering suicide, the Attorney General's Office will make sure family and the school are notified. If it's a threat or other criminal activity, state police will investigate it.

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