Emergency Workers Concerned About Spate Of Suicides

By April Baer, OPB News, October 13, 2011

Portland police spokesman Lt. Robert King (Image: April Baer)

First responders in the Portland metro area say they’re concerned at the number of suicides in recent weeks.

Thursday, police, fire, EMS and suicide prevention groups gathered on Portland’s waterfront.

Even during their press conference, authorities were responding to a report of a suicidal man on the I-205 bridge.

Officials who gathered said suicide is especially frustrating because it’s preventable.

Lesley Storm’s husband committed suicide twenty-four years ago. Prevention, she says, can take many forms, but must begin with simple interactions.

“It is a myth that people who are talking about killing themselves don’t go through with it. If you hear somebody talking about killing themselves, ask about it. Don’t be afraid to ask,” Storm said.

Last year, 673 people killed themselves in Oregon. That number has been rising steadily over the past three years.

The Oregon Partnership is a non-profit that advocates for addiction treatment and mental health services.

The group says 27 percent of last year’s Oregon suicides were current or former service members.

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