Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds in Oregon, and suicide rates in Oregon have been higher than U.S. rates over the past 10 years. Rates of youth suicide have been rising since 2011.
Despite the numbers of lives lost, its important to know that for every person that dies by suicide, there are 280 people who think about it, but don’t make an attempt. That speaks to a tremendous hope in the human spirit and in the communities making a difference every day. For every life lost to suicide, there are 280 people who are able to find hope, connect with family, friends or a professional. 280 lives that find hope and get the support they need and live.
Some of the commonly held misconceptions about suicide or self-harm can stop us from recognizing when a youth is at risk. We might think they’re seeking attention or being manipulative.
On the contrary, when someone talks about harming themselves, they’re usually saying “I’m not coping right now” or “I need some help”. They may harm themselves because they want to stop or release some of the unbearable pain they’re experiencing.
If a youth or a peer is talking about suicide and self-harm, it should be taken seriously. Listen to their distress and suffering so that you can understand what is going on for them.
Additional data on those that attempt or complete a suicide:
- 80% of youth suicides in 2017 were males
- There are 4 male deaths for every 1 female death
- More women attempt. Females are far more likely to be hospitalized for suicide attempts than males
- 107 Suicides occurred among Oregon youth in 2017
- 87% of those suicides were white
- More than 750 Oregon youths ages 10-24 were hospitalized for self-inflicted injury or attempted suicide in 2017
Suicide and Mental Health
Ultimately, mental health is about being cognitively, emotionally and socially healthy – the way we think, feel and develop relationships – and not merely the absence of a mental health condition.
Suicidal behavior indicates deep unhappiness, not necessarily a mental health issue. Many people living with mental health issues aren’t suicidal, and not all people who take their own lives have a mental health issue.
Factors contributing to suicide risk are extremely complex and can include mental illness as well as a host of other factors including substance misuse or financial instability. New data from the CDC indicates that more than half of people who died by suicide in 2016 had no known mental health disorder at the time of death, however, it also states, “it is possible that mental health conditions or other circumstances could have been present and not diagnosed, known, or reported.”
Of the total suicide deaths in 2016, 10.3% of individuals had a diagnosed serious mental illness, according to a 27-state sample analysis conducted by the CDC. Extrapolated to the entire United States, this indicates that approximately 4,649 individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder died by suicide in 2016.
Lines for Life YouthLine
The Dougy Center: For youth who have lost someone to suicide
Oregon Family Support Network
The Trevor Project: National Resource for LGBTQ+
SAMHSA Treatment Services Locator (Interactive Map)