suicide prevention

Youth suicide bill passes Senate

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A bill to improve access to services for young people at risk of killing themselves passed the Senate unanimously Thursday and is on its way to Gov. John Kitzhaber’s desk.
Rep. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, introduced House Bill 4124 to strengthen the state’s ability to intervene with youths in crisis. She said she’s “thrilled” by Thursday’s vote.
The bill requires annual reports to lawmakers with data about current suicide and suicide attempts. It calls for an update every five years on the state’s youth suicide prevention plan, including recommendations for improved access to services and better agency collaboration.
The bill also meets Gelser’s goal of expanding both the title and the job duties of Oregon’s current youth suicide prevention coordinator position to include intervention. She stressed she strongly supports prevention, but believes the state falls short when it comes to helping young people already in crisis.
Gelser’s original bill moved the coordinator’s position from public health, which emphasizes prevention, to addictions and mental health, where crisis intervention becomes possible.
At last check, the bill was to add a second position so that coordinators could work in both agencies, essentially doubling Oregon’s focus on youth suicide.
“I’m hopeful we have the second position. I’m told that will be in the budget bill that comes tomorrow,” she said, referring to today. “That’s an exciting development, to have both, so they can coordinate together under the Oregon Health Authority.”
As of 2012, suicide was second only to vehicle crashes as the cause of death for Oregonians ages 15 to 34. Oregon also has an overall suicide rate 41 percent higher than the national average.

Out of the Darkness: Hope for Suicide Prevention

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A tragic loss gave Angela McClintic the inspiration and strength to organize the first-ever Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Eugene in October 2009. The walks have become an annual event held at Alton Baker Park with the purpose of raising awareness for suicide prevention.

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