EUGENE, Ore. – In the United States, someone commits suicide every 17 minutes. In Oregon, the suicide rate is nearly one and a half times higher than the national average. This weekend, Lane County Public Health‘s prevention program is holding a workshop to try to reduce those numbers.
Saturday’s workshop at the Eugene Public Library is called QPR for Suicide Prevention. The QPR stands for question, persuade and refer. It’s a set of tools that can be used if you’re worried someone is thinking of committing suicide.
“It’s very important to ask them outright are you thinking of killing yourself, are you thinking of suicide?” said Sandy Moses, Lane county Prevention Spokeswoman.
Moses says that’s the first step. She says it’s key in preventing someone from taking their own life.
“It’s not going to put the idea in their mind; in fact, it’s going to reduce the stress that they might be going through because this is something that they have been thinking about,” Moses said.
The second step Lane County Public Health leaders will address is the idea of persuasion.
“The persuading part is to show your support, listen, find out what’s going on in their lives and then persuade them to get the help that they so need and deserve,” Moses said.
Refer stands for getting people to the right resources to help them. Resources that are much needed, given the high number of suicides in Oregon.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study from 2007 shows more than 30 percent of adults in Oregon report having poor mental health. The study says suicide is the second leading cause of death for those 15-34 years olds.
“We think of young people dying by car crashes for instance and we know that suicide again being stigmatized, is not on the radar,” Moses said.
Moses says she can’t speculate on why it’s so high for that specific age group; but says suicide affects everyone.
“We know suicide is really the tip of the iceberg of what is needed in our society, what are the gaps,” Moses said.
Suicide warning signs include depression, stress and changes in sleeping habits. Saturday’s workshop starts at 2 p.m. at the Eugene Public Library. There’s also a mental health first aid workshop on October 10 in the Lane County Public Health building.
For the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, call 1-800-273-8255.