Suicide Prevention

In Oregon, more than 400 people yearly kill themselves with a firearm. Due to the high lethality of guns, even if every person substituted another method for the gun, suicide rates would still plummet.

Learn more here about guns and suicide, see the Oregon suicide data. Read about QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) and the ways you can intervene to stop someone from taking her or his life.

Many lives would likely be saved if people decided to not own firearms, kept firearms locked away, or stored them outside the home. Says HSPH Professor of Health Policy David Hemenway: “Studies show that most attempters act on impulse, in moments of panic or despair. Once the acute feelings ease, 90 percent do not go on to die by suicide.”

But few can survive a gun blast. That’s why the ICRC’s Catherine Barber has launched Means Matter, a campaign that asks the public to help prevent suicide deaths by adopting practices and policies that keep guns out of the hands of vulnerable adults and children. For details, visit www.meansmatter.org.

Black Lives Matter in Suicide Prevention

In recent weeks, we’ve seen painful reminders of the racism and violence that Black Americans and other communities of color experience on a daily basis. In addition to joining the outcry against these injustices, this moment calls for those of us in suicide prevention to critically examine how White privilege has shaped our work and to make bold moves toward equity and inclusion in our field.

Prevention Paradigm for Native Americans

It’s time to change the paradigm when working with Native people, says Doreen Bird, a public health professional and Native American. We need to focus on the strengths of Native Americans and what has made them resilient. And we must involve Native people when developing suicide prevention programs in their communities. “This will empower the community and make the programs and services a whole lot better at reducing suicide,” she explains.

Showing compassion, accepting cultures: Preventing suicide in the Latino Community

Latina teens in the United States have had higher rates of suicide attempts than Caucasian teens and Latino boys for the past 20 years, according to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey administered to kids age 10 to 24 by the CDC every other year.

Youth Suicide Prevention Program

Lines for Life launches “BeThe1To” program to spread the word about preventing suicide.

Find the Suicide Prevention Resource Center resources and programs here.

Find the ZeroSuicide Toolkit here.

In Oregon, suicide is the second leading cause of death among Oregonians aged 10 to 24. In response to this statistic, the Oregon Health Authority developed a plan with strategies for communities to use to reduce youth suicide. Review the Oregon Youth Suicide Prevention Plan (pdf).

This plan outlines an initiative through which Oregonians can help break through denial and cultural taboos about death, help end the shame associated with suicide, help foster the conviction that not even one youth has to die by suicide, and help take responsibility by openly and honestly joining with other Oregonians to reduce suicide among our youth.

The strategies for state and community-based action require a commitment to partnership and shared responsibility among state agencies, between state and local governments, and between public and private sectors.

Suicide accounts for more than 80% of all gunshot deaths in Oregon. These tragedies are preventable.

National Suicide Prevention Life Line:
800-273-TALK (8255), suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Lines for Life: Text 273TALK to 839-863,
linesforlife.org

Crisis Chat Servicecrisischat.org

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741-741

American Foundation for Suicide Preventionafsp.org

Mental Health Support

County Mental Health Crisis Lines
  • Clackamas: 503-655-8585
  • Clark: 360-696-9560
  • Marion: 503-585-4949
  • Multnomah: 503-988-4888
  • Washington: 503-291-9111
National Alliance on Mental Illness: 800-950-6264, Text NAMI to 741-741, nami.org

National Council for Behavioral Healththenationalcouncil.org

Veterans Support
Veterans Crisis Line: 800-272-TALK (8255), dial 1, Text 838-255, veteranscrisisline.net

Vets4Warriors: 855-838-8255, vets4warriors.com

Domestic Violence Services

Call to Safety (formally Portland Women’s Crisis Line): 888-235-5333, calltosafety.org

Gateway Center: portlandoregon.gov/gatewaycenter

Means Matter

Every U.S. study that has examined the relationship has found that access to firearms is a risk factor for suicides. Firearm owners are not more suicidal than non-firearm owners; rather, their suicide attempts are more likely to be fatal. Many suicide attempts are made with little planning during a short-term crisis period. If highly lethal means are made less available to impulsive attempters and they substitute less lethal means, or temporarily postpone their attempt, the odds are increased that they will survive. Studies in a variety of countries have indicated that when access to a highly lethal and leading suicide method is reduced, the overall suicide rate drops driven by a drop in the restricted method.

Did you know?

  • Many suicide attempts occur with little planning during a short-term crisis.
  • Intent isn’t all that determines whether an attempter lives or dies; means also matter.
  • 90% of attempters who survive do NOT go on to die by suicide later.
  • Access to firearms is a risk factor for suicide.
  • Firearms used in youth suicide usually belong to a parent.
  • Reducing access to lethal means saves lives.

Read more at Means Matter, published by the Harvard School of Public Health.

Far more people kill themselves with a firearm each year than are murdered with one. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and in over half of cases, people used firearms.