If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out!
Call 911 if you need help right away.
Call the Mid-Columbia Center for Living 24-hour Crisis Line at
1-888-877-9147. Mental health professionals run the crisis line and can talk you through the situation you are going through and/or help you make an appointment.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. The lifeline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone, free of cost. All calls are confidential. You can also chat online at Lifeline Chat.
More than 120 people die by suicide every day in America. It is the tenth leading cause of death overall in the country but the second leading cause of death for people 10-34 years old. The effects of this are felt through our whole community.
As a community, what can we do to prevent suicides?
Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. 5:30-6:30pm in person at the Columbia Gorge Community College Hood River Campus, 3rd floor or via Zoom. For more information contact Hood River County Prevention Department, 541.387.6890 Belinda Ballah
Suicidal thoughts and planning or attempting a suicide are not signs of someone being dramatic.
These actions show that someone is feeling extreme distress.
We should respond with support and try to connect them to the help they need.
Know the Signs
Someone might be at risk for suicide if they are showing these behaviors:
Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
Planning or looking for a way to kill themselves
(like searching online, collecting pills, or buying a weapon)
Talking about feeling a lot of guilt or shame
Talking about feeling trapped or feeling like there are no answers
Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
Talking about being a burden to others
Using alcohol or drugs more often
Acting anxious or agitated
Pulling away from family and friends
Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
Showing intense anger or talking about getting revenge
Doing risky things that could lead to death, like driving extremely fast
Talking or thinking about death often
Having extreme mood swings – like changing quickly from very sad to very calm/happy
Giving away important belongings
Telling friends and family goodbye
Putting affairs in order, making a will
Source: National Institute of Mental Health. “Suicide Prevention.” 2018.
Ways to Give Support
Get involved. Be available. Show interest and support.
Be aware. Learn the warning signs of suicide.
Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide.
Be direct. Talk openly and freely about suicide.
Be willing to listen. Let the person express their feelings.
Be nonjudgmental. Don't debate if suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don't lecture.
Offer hope that there are other options.
Don't ask "why?" This can make the person feel defensive.
Don't act shocked. This can distance the person.
Don't promise to keep it a secret. Look for help from people or agencies that specialize in suicide prevention.
Don't just offer shallow reassurances like "it's going to be ok" - it may seem like you don't understand.
Don't give advice or tell the person how to act differently.
Don't tell the person they are overreacting or being dramatic
Source: Psychalive. “The Do’s and Don’ts of Suicide Prevention.” 2012.
Video Sources: To Write Love on Her Arms. "World Suicide Prevention Day." 2017 & 2018.
Practice Healthy Coping
Every person experiences stress at some time. Learning and practicing healthy ways of coping with stress is one way to prevent suicide and relieve stress before it becomes too much to bear. Some ways to manage stress are:
Eat healthy meals
Exercise – walk, dance, play – often
Get plenty of sleep
Take breaks when you feel stressed
Stay connected with friends and family instead of pushing away
Avoid drugs and alcohol which can cause more problems that increase stress
Try to step back from things in your life causing stress if you can
Think about asking for professional help – it is not weak or shameful to get help!
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Coping With Stress.” 2018.