EUGENE, Ore. -- Five people committed suicide by self-inflicted gunshot wound in Eugene alone in the last eight days compared to three suicides in all of January and February combined.
KVAL News and other media outlets do not normally report on suicides unless they take place in a public place, like the young man who took his own life during a showing of "Watchmen" at Regal Cinemas in Valley River Center.
The stories are there to be told, however: calls for help to Oregon's suicide prevention line increased from 2,034 in March 2008 to 2,986 in March 2009. Calls were up 71 percent January 2009 over January 2008.
- Thinking about suicide? Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
- Warning signs of someone at-risk for suicide
- What to do if a friend or family member appears suicidal
And even as the total annual number of suicides have remained relatively constant in Lane County at an average of 51 per year over the past two decades, April is the most dangerous month for suicides: As the weather improves, people suffering from depression sometimes lose hope even as flowers and warm weather return.
"Gee, things are good," the person at risk for suicide thinks, "and I don't feel better."
Pete Schulberg with the Oregon Partnership Crisis Line said the economy is having a direct impact on the number of calls to suicide prevention phone lines and drug and alcohol help lines.
Since 70 percent of people who commit suicide give warning signs or tell somone, you can help a family member or friend by learning to recognize the signs that someone is at-risk for suicide.
If you hear somone say
- Life isn't worth lving
- Nobody understand me
- You'll be sorry when I'm gone
- I'd be better off dead
- There is no way out
- Getting their affairs in order
- Giving away things
- Getting a weapon
- Writing suicide note
Signs of depession
- Depressed mood
- hange in sleeping, weight, appetite
- Speaking/moving very fast or slow
- Withdrawal from family, friends
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Thoughts of death
What you should do
If someone is exhibiting the above behaviors, call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) to learn more about mental health resources in your area and to discuss strategies for getting help for your friend or family member.
If someone is making an active threat to hurt themselves or others, call 911 emergency.