According to a 2012 report released by the Oregon Health Authority, the most recent available, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Oregonians ages 15 to 34. The health authority also reported that Oregon’s suicide rate is 35 percent higher than the national average.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports suicide rates are highest in spring, peaking around April. At least 90 percent of those who choose to end their lives have a diagnosable mental illness at the time of their death, according to the foundation.

Given those statistics, The Torch would like to remind its readers that it’s important to address concerns about mental illness as they arise. There is no shame in taking care of any medical condition. Just as we don’t look down on someone with a physical injury for seeking treatment, those of us with these real and serious conditions need to feel comfortable seeking help, without stigma.

If you are concerned about someone you know who may be thinking of self-harm, please reach out. Many of those in the midst of depression are incapable of actively communicating their problems or seeking help themselves. If you suspect someone may be considering suicide, please actively engage them in seeking help. Offer to go with them. Give them a ride.

Should the person you’re concerned about refuse help, and you remain worried, Lane counselor Doug Smyth offers the following advice: “I would encourage anyone who believes a friend is actually going to harm themselves or others to immediately contact the police, “who can immediately check on the person.”

If you suffer from depression or have thoughts of self-harm, please reach out and get help. Talk to your friends and family, or use the resources below.

Lane offers students counseling for any issue that may hinder them academically — including mental illness.

According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, the chances of successful treatment range from 60 percent to 80 percent when dealt with earlier — higher than the average success rate of 40 percent to 60 percent for common surgical treatments for heart disease.

Below you’ll find a list for recognizing symptoms of depression and suicidal tendencies, as well as a list of resources to help those in need.

Warning signs of suicide

• Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I was dead,” or “I wish I hadn’t been born.”

• Acquiring the means to commit suicide, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills.

• Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone.

• Having mood swings, such as feeling emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next.

• Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence.

• Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation.

• Increasing use of alcohol or drugs.

• Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns.

• Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly.

• Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order.

• Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.

Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Local resources

Lane Counseling and Advising Center
Building 1, Room 103
4000 E. 30th Ave. Eugene, Ore.
Phone: (541) 463-3200

White Bird Clinic
341 E. 12th Ave. Eugene, Ore.
Phone: (541) 342-8255 or
(541) 687-4000 during a crisis

National Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
24-hour Helpline #: 800-273-TALK (8255)
people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities:1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

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