PPB Lieutenant and Public Information Officer Robert King addresses reporters.
Video courtesy of Portland Police Bureau
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Last week, Oregon Partnership, Portland Fire & Rescue, Portland Police Bureau (PPB), and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference to draw attention to the community-wide epidemic of suicide in Portland and throughout Oregon. On hand were social workers, mental health professionals, first responders, and suicide survivors to help spread the message of prevention and awareness.
Just in the last year, PF&R has responded to 55 calls of individuals attempting suicide by jumping off Portland’s bridges. Also during that time, volunteers at Oregon Partnership’s Suicide Lifeline have fielded over 19,000 calls, providing immediate assistance and referring people to helping resources.
During the press conference, speakers discussed the leading cause of suicide – untreated depression and mental illness.
PPB Lieutenant and Public Information Officer Robert King stressed the importance of suicide prevention resources, connecting the issue to his own career. Each year, 300 police officers commit suicide nationally.
Leslie Storm, the Crisis Clinical Director for Oregon Partnership, wants citizens to know that suicide is preventable. “The sigma, shame, secrecy and myths surrounding suicide unfortunately keep people from getting the help they need.” Storm went on to say, “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.”
If you are suicidal or you think someone you know is, help is available. Start by learning the warning signs of suicide. Contact the Suicide Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) for free, confidential crisis intervention and referral.
Warning Signs of Suicide:
- Ideation (thinking, talking or wishing about suicide)
- Substance use or abuse (increased use or change in substance)
- Purposelessness (no sense of purpose or belonging)
- Trapped (feeling like there is no way out)
- Hopelessness (there is nothing to live for, no hope or optimism)
- Withdrawal (from family, friends, work, school, activities, hobbies)
- Anxiety (restlessness, irritability, agitation)
- Recklessness (high risk-taking behavior)
- Mood disturbance (dramatic changes in mood)
- Talking about suicide.
- Looking for ways to die (internet searches for how to commit suicide, looking for guns, pills, etc.)
- Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.
- Preoccupation with death.
- Suddenly happier, calmer.
- Loss of interest in things one cares about.
- Visiting or calling people one cares about.
- Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order.
- Giving things away, such as prized possessions.
Portland Fire & Rescue
We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
October 17, 2011