September 10, 2020

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day: How to Help Those Who Are Struggling

Every 40 seconds, someone in the world takes their own life. That’s at least 800,000 people a year, according to the World Health Organization, and the numbers are rising in some parts of the world. In the United States alone, suicide rates have increased by 35% between 1999 and 2018. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls suicide a growing public health problem.

We can all help prevent suicide.

This World Suicide Prevention Day, Cascadia is sharing signs to look for in those who are struggling and may be considering suicide. Let’s continue to help ourselves, help others, and seek professional help when necessary.

Signs to Look For

Many of the signs that someone may be considering suicide will be harder to read during times of physical distancing. Changes in routine especially will not be as apparent, but there are other things you can look for:

  • Changes in tone, language, and time of day when texting, talking, or posting online
  • Do they answer your calls or texts?
  • Changes in the frequency (more or less) and content of what they might be sharing online or if they share media links with you
  • In addition to the above, if there is a change in energy levels or appetite; increased use of drugs or alcohol; mood swings; trouble sleeping or relaxing; frequent headaches, stomachaches, or body pains; heightened worrying or anxiety; and inability to feel pleasure, it could be a reason to check in.

Supports and Resources 

  • The Multnomah County Mental Health Crisis Line (503-988-4888) provides free, 24/7 mental health support.
    • Clackamas Co. Crisis Line: 503-655-8585
    • Washington Co. Crisis Line: 503-291-9111
    • Lane Co. Crisis Line: 541-687-4000
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
    • Please note that the 988 number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will not be completed until July 2022 and is not currently active nationally.
  • Cascadia’s Urgent Walk-In Clinic (4212 SE Division St, Portland) can help anyone experiencing a mental health crisis at no cost and is open everyday 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
  • My3 app offers the ability to develop a safety plan right on your phone.