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Suicide Prevention

Warning signs, resources, free trainings and other information regarding suicide prevention in Washington County.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, are suffering from hopelessness, or feel like you can't cope right now, help is available 24/7. You are not alone. Call the Washington County Crisis Line at 503-291-9111. Language interpreters are available. If you or someone near you is facing a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1.

Urgent care resources

How to check in with a friend who may be in trouble

We asked 30 community members what they would say to someone who may be struggling with their mental health. Watch our brief video below to see what some of them had to say.

Para ver una versión de este video en español:YouTube

Warning signs of suicide risk

  • Threatening to kill themselves
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Looking for the means (e.g., gun, pills, rope, etc.) to kill themselves
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
  • Expressing hopelessness or a stated lack of purpose
  • Displaying rage, anger or agitation
  • Acting reckless, engaging in risky activities
  • Feeling trapped, like there is no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family or society
  • Being unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time
  • Expressing dramatic changes in mood

How you can help

  1. Take all warning signs of suicide seriously.
  2. Show or tell them you care about them.
  3. Ask them directly about suicide.
    1. "Are you thinking about suicide?"
    2. "Have you been thinking about ending your life?"
    3. "Do you want to kill yourself?"
  4. Listen to their response without judging or giving advice.
  5. If they say yes, stay with them and remain calm.
  6. Ask them if you can call the Washington County Crisis Line (503-291-9111) together to get advice and connect with resources that can help.
    1. If they say no, do not leave them alone. Offer to take them to the Hawthorn Walk-in Center. If they say no again, tell them you will have to call 9-1-1. If they do not change their mind, call 9-1-1.

Please remember: You and they are not in immediate danger while you have this conversation. Chances are they been looking for someone to talk to for some time. Asking them about suicide does not put the idea of suicide into their head. It provides them with a moment to feel seen and heard. It is essential that you don't leave them alone without a plan for how they are going to be safe. If you need help figuring out how to help them, call the Washington County Crisis Line (503-291-9111).

Additional information and resources

  • Free suicide prevention and mental health first aid training at Get Trained To Help. This is a resource for people who live and/or work in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties to receive a variety of trainings that address situations people may encounter in their personal or professional lives. Trainings are currently offered in English and include Question, Persuade Refer (QPR), Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). The courses are open to anyone 18 years or older, regardless of experience level.
  • The Suicide Prevention Council of Washington County includes mental health providers, first responders, educators, the faith community, government organizations, survivors of suicide loss and attempts, law enforcement and other concerned community members. The council focuses on education, training, stigma and awareness, and uses data to better inform suicide prevention and intervention practices in Washington County. The group meets every other month for two hours. For more information about the council, or to learn about upcoming mental health and suicide awareness events in Washington County, email us.

Resources for health providers

One of the most commonly used suicide risk assessments is the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) and can be used with ages 12 and up. Both behavioral health clinicians and those not formally trained in behavioral health can learn how to use the C-SSRS.

The Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (asQ) is most commonly used in medical settings such as an emergency department and can be used for patients ages 10-21.

The most commonly used safety plan is the Stanley – Brown. You can also find more information about safety planning for clinicians here. There are several Android and Apple phone apps that also can serve to build a safety plan and are more likely to be used by youth and young adults. Search for "suicide safety plan" in your App store.

Lethal means safety has become a core component of suicide prevention strategy in Oregon and the U.S. Both state and federal resources are available for clinicians and other caregivers in providing services to people who may be suicidal.

  • The Oregon Suicide Prevention website offers several resources, including: a brochure directed at firearm owners; a research brief on lethal means for primary care providers; and a CME-accredited course for clinicians seeking to address firearm safety for patients with suicide risk.
  • The Suicide Prevention Resource Center has developed an award-winning online course focused on lethal means. Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM) walks people through how to identify people with risk of using different means, how to talk about restricting access to lethal means, and working with them to reduce access. Course lasts approximately two hours.
  • The American Psychological Association has an excellent webpage on how to talk to patients with suicide risk about firearm safety and includes links to other resources.
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