The mural, by Tulsa artist Josh Butts, can be seen until Monday at 101 E. Archer St in Tulsa. KASSIE MCCLUNG/The Frontier

A passenger airplane etched in white chalk sprawls across the outside of the AHHA Hardesty Arts Center in downtown Tulsa.

Written in the outline of the plane, a harrowing statistic: In the United States, 123 people die by suicide each day. That’s the “equivalent to a passenger jet crashing every day,” it reads.

Mental Health Association Oklahoma, in partnership with the AHHA Hardesty Arts Center, 101 E. Archer St., unveiled the mural on Friday morning.

As Mental Health Awareness Month began Tuesday, MHAO is aiming to draw awareness to many issues facing the state, including suicide, mental illness and homelessness. The organization launched its campaign, “Too Big to Ignore,” at the start of the month.

Josh Butts, a Tulsa muralist, began work on the piece in the early hours of Friday. KASSIE MCCLUNG/The Frontier

Josh Butts, a Tulsa muralist and combat veteran, started work on the mural about 3 a.m. Friday and worked through the morning until the unveiling at 11.

“Having these things up on the wall, people are going to interact with them in a big way and it’s more than just reading a statistic,” Butts said. “It’s kind of experiencing the gravity and the weight of it all, and that’s what I want people to understand.”

In the nose of the plane, Butts wrote the names of two people who died by suicide, including the name of a friend.

On average, one person dies by suicide in Oklahoma every 11 hours, according to MHAO.

“If we’re really going to address it (suicide), we’re going to need the courage, the fortitude to begin that conversation,” MHAO CEO Mike Brose said.

Mike Brose, CEO of Mental Health Oklahoma, speaks at the unveiling of the “Too Big To Ignore” mural in Tulsa on May 4. KASSIE MCCLUNG/The Frontier

Butts, 36, said if a full passenger jet crashed every day, killing the people inside, the whole world would be concerned. That same attention should be paid to suicide, he said.

“We want people to know this is happening, that it is that much that often,” Butts said. “And if you equivocate it to something as visual as a jet crashing, maybe it’ll help people put it in perspective.”

Passersby can write in chalk the names of people they know who were affected by suicide below the mural. The piece will be on the center throughout the weekend, until it is washed off Monday.

Passersby write below the mural on the Hardesty Arts Center. KASSIE MCCLUNG/The Frontier

“At first I was like, ‘Man I wish we could keep it longer,'” Butts said. “But that’s what we wish about the people that we loved, so in a sort of way it makes sense.”

After the unveiling, MHAO held a one-hour suicide prevention workshop, called “QPR” training.

Karen LaPlante, director of education and community relations for MHAO, taught the workshop. She said suicide prevention best practices involve multiple approaches.

“It’s about providing hope,” LaPlante said. “It’s about supporting the fact that even though they might want to die at the time, the bottom line is most people want to live.”

For each suicide death, there are about 100 to 200 people who make an attempt, LaPlante said.

QPR stands for question, persuade and refer. Laplante compared QPR to CPR. QPR isn’t considered counseling or treatment, but a way for people to step in and help, she said.

“It’s an opportunity to help them,” she said. “Really find ways to support them and really help them through this difficult time they are experiencing.

“Suicide is preventable This is a very preventable public health issue, and yet in recent years we’re still seeing numbers grow, unfortunately.”

If you’re concerned someone might be suicidal, don’t wait to ask, LaPlante said.

Those interested in scheduling a free one-hour training can call MHAO at 918-585-1213 or 405-943-3700.

National suicide prevention 24/7 hotline: 1-800-273-8255 or text “Help” to 741741.