PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – September was Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, but work around Oregon to prevent suicide continues, even though the state has not seen rate increases suicide in 2020 and 2021.
In September, several regional suicide prevention coalitions around the state collaborated with the Oregon Alliance to Prevent Suicide to launch Signs of Hope. campaign to raise awareness of suicide and promote hope and connectivity. The effort was successful, with 15 campaigns staged across the state in Clackamas, Crook, Curry, Hood River, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Polk, Sherman, Union and Wasco counties ( see photos of several Alliance events website).
“While the practical and mental health challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the Oregon wildfires are unparalleled in our lives, everyday Oregonians and state and local organizations have stepped in to support each other. others and make it safe to ask for help, ”says Annette Marcus of the Alliance. “The Signs for Hope campaign helps people remember that it is okay to fight, that they are part of a caring community.”
In Clackamas County, there was several sign rallies and the commissioners held a town hall on suicide prevention awareness and mental health resources. “We wanted to instill messages of hope and connection through Clackamas,” said Galli Murray, county suicide prevention coordinator. “People now have signs in their backyards reminding them daily that everyone is valuable, that wrestling is normal and that it is okay to ask for help. ”
The Union County Suicide Prevention Coalition put up videos to encourage people to seek help when they need it and held “Don’t Give Up” signs in downtown La Grande. “Like many rural communities it can feel like we all know each other and yet this past year has been extremely disturbing, stress levels are higher than ever and with increased isolation people feel particularly vulnerable to the idea of sharing their struggles, ”said Aaron Grigg, director of mental health, Center for Human Development, Inc.“ It was amazing to wave signs of hope and encouragement, to establish eye contact and knowing that we were making a little difference in their lives that day. The “hope meter” at La Grande increased a bit more that day. “
The state continues to focus on improving and expanding suicide prevention efforts. Youth suicide efforts continue to expand as part of the state’s Youth Suicide Prevention and Intervention Plan. The OHA is currently developing an Adult Suicide Prevention and Intervention Plan to identify steps to reduce suicide among Oregonians 25 and older.
Residents of Oregon are encouraged to join suicide prevention efforts. Creating a suicide-safe Oregon is everyone’s business. Here’s how you can get involved:
- Be a trusted adult. Research shows that even a caring adult in the life of a young person protects against suicide.
- To have trained to recognize the signs of suicide. The free Question, Persuade, Referer (QPR) training courses are offered statewide. QPR is a suicide prevention program that teaches people how to recognize someone at risk, intervene with confidence, and direct them to the help they need. Encourage your workplace and friends to train with you.
If you or someone you know is going through a mental health crisis, know that help is available:
- Call the national 24/7 suicide prevention lifeline Lines for life at 800-273-8255 or text “273TALK” to 839863 (text services available Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. PT). The Veterans Crisis Lines can be contacted by calling the number above and pressing “1”. In Spanish: 1-888-628-9454. TTY: Dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255.
- Text it Crisis text line. Text OREGON to 741741 24/7.
- Youth Line is an emergency and help line for adolescents. Teens are available to help every day from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific Time (out of hours calls answered by Lines for Life). Call 877-968-8491, text “teen2teen” at 839863 or chat Going through the website.
- Lists of OHA Websites Crisis Services by Oregon County
- The Safe + Strong the website and helpline are operational 24/7 (1-800-923-4357).