OK2SAY: Suicide, mental health issues among top tip categories from Michigan students

Michigan

Mich. (WJMN) – OK2SAY has released its annual report numbers for 2020, which showcases some differences from previous years due to the pandemic.

OK2SAY is a confidential way for kids to report anything that may threaten their safety or the safety of others. Students can call, text, email, go online, or download the mobile app to report a tip.

“It’s just a really easy, efficient way for kids to be able to use their voice to step up and speak up about things that may be concerning to them or things that threaten their safety,” said Mary Gager Drew, Program Administrator, MSP Grants and Community Services Division.

Nearly all school and law enforcement personnel that use OK2SAY indicate it is helpful in stopping harm before it occurs. And seventy-three percent report they were unaware of the problem before the tip was submitted.

“Those numbers are, really to me, are really significant because it really does demonstrate that schools don’t always know what’s going on. So a program like OK2SAY can help schools recognize and get that good information so they can help make a difference,” said Gager Drew.

For 2020, fewer tips were sent in due to students not being in school because of the pandemic. However, the top three categories of tips were different than previous years.

OK2SAY received 5,742 tips in 2019. Tips were received in 31 categories, including these top five categories:   

  • Suicide threats – 1,298 tips
  • Bullying – 1,001 tips
  • Drugs – 624 tips

The program’s 2020 Annual Report shows that OK2SAY received 3,743 tips spanning 31 categories, with the top three types of tips being:  

  • Suicide threats – 896 tips
  • Drugs – 456 tips
  • Other (e.g., anxiety, stress, depression, harassment) – 436 tips

“Students know what’s troubling their peers because they’re paying attention, especially on social media where young people tend to openly share on platforms that may not be regularly monitored by parents and guardians,” said Nancy Becker Bennett, director of the MSP Grants and Community Service Division. “They’re reaching out to get help for their friends and we’re encouraged to see they trust us.

Other findings from the 2020 annual report include that 10 tips involved the confiscation of weapons and 42 tips involved the seizure of drugs or alcohol. In 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program experienced a 42 percent decrease in tip volume as students transitioned to a virtual learning environment.

To view the full 2020 report, click here.

OK2SAY is available 24/7 and tips can be submitted the following ways:

  • Call: 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729) 
  • Text: 652729 (OK2SAY) 
  • Email: OK2SAY@mi.gov
  • OK2SAY website: www.ok2say.com 
  • OK2SAY mobile app

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