Finding Hope

One Million & Counting
cALL 800-273-8255 or
text "sos" to 741741



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See our 2019 Finding Hope magazine insert here.

Suicide - Short version

Suicide - 2019 Oregon | California
Find your state - 2019
Suicides - 1990-2023
Suicide - The leading cause of death for 15-24, 25-34, 35-44 AND 45-54 year old Oregonians in 2017

United Way partners with Zero Attempts for “Finding Hope” project
Finding Hope

Donors recognized
How to donate
Mini Grants
Extra Magazines

How To Break The Silence Of Suicide
Warning Signs

New Youth Warning Signs

Risk Factors
Protective Factors
Will asking someone “Are you thinking about suicide?” or “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” will put that idea into someone's head.
Anti-Stigma Campaign

Suicide Prevention: Safe Activity
Keep Suicide Prevention Fresh With Classroom Activities
Organizing a No Name-Calling Week

Reporting on Suicide

Breaking the Silence: Shining a light on Oregon's Suicide Crisis
Oregon newsrooms team up to ‘break silence’ around suicide - Story Ideas
Video and Discussion Guide Video is 10 years old, discussion guide is 15 years old. A LOT has changed since then.

Suicide Reporting Guidelines (18 page PDF)
Best Practices and Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide (2 page PDF)


Remember this date - December 31, 2018. That was the culmination of a year that saw more people in the U.S. kill themselves than ever before - over 48 thousand.

2018 saw another record where 844 Oregonians killed themselves and 107 were youth. In Curry County,14 people killed themselves, the most ever (up 21%) and 3 more than in 2016. Five of them were veterans.

The CDC reports that almost 700,000 people attempted suicide that ended them in an ER and they further estimate that there are 25 overall attempts for every successful suicide which represents over 1.2 million people who attempt suicide each year. Furthermore, the CDC estimates that there are over 9 million people who seriously consider suicide every year.

Research shows that 75% of the people who kill themselves had contact with their GP within a year of their death and 45% within 30 days.

That's where Zero Attempts comes in. Concentrating on individuals, families, and community members who are not already in the healthcare system but may be in crisis, but because of the stigma of revealing their mental health dilemma, stay isolated and don't open up to talk about their current mental health state because it doesn't feel safe to let people know what's going on.

Research shows that 90% of those who kill themselves had communicated their distress to someone before they took action and for whatever reason, the person didn't know the signs, didn't pick up on the distress call, didn't know what to do if they did know the signs, or were afraid to get involved.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts.

Half of all mental health disorders start by age 14. This increases to 75% by age 24. Left untreated, children with mental health problems are at greater risk of abusing drugs or alcohol, becoming involved with the criminal justice system, dropping out of school and killing themselves

Nationally, over 14% of high school students have considered attempting suicide. In Curry County about 20% of 6th, 8th and 11th graders "seriously" considered it last year.

Nationally almost 7% of high school students actually attempted suicide in the past year. In Curry County it was 8.7% of 6th graders, 10.7% of 8th graders and 10.1% of 11th graders attempted. And all of these numbers have gone up each year for the last five years.

The sad thing for many parents who lost their child to suicide, is when they checked their child's cell phone after a suicide, were shocked to see all the distress their children were experiencing. This “not my child” syndrome" is common and is a serious situation to overcome. It is a particularly dangerous attitude for parents to have and this program will help many of them understand the severity of the situation and what to do.

The fact is that anyone can be at risk of suicide. The path to suicide is complex and predicting it is not as easy as looking for a simple cause and effect. Losing a job, being bullied, having served in the military, or having a mental health diagnosis are not causes of suicide. Resting on these assumptions can lead to missed opportunities to recognize pain and reach out to help. Early identification and intervention4 can be a life saver.

Talking directly about suicide can help someone, including you, in distressful times. Even when we know that asking someone about suicide will not cause them to consider suicide5, it can be difficult to raise the topic. Start with the simple question R U OK? If you don't ask, you may be gambling that no one else will ask before it's too late because they may also be afraid.

The bottom line is that we all need to be involved, show our concern, don't be afraid to ask, and make it our business. What's the worst that can happen? They say "Mind your own business" or "I'm fine, thank-you." The best that can happen is that they see that someone cares and you are able to get them help and alleviate unnecessary suffering and potential harm to themselves or others. The more you know, the more you'll be aware of how many of your friends and possibly family members are in or close to crisis. The law of averages says that 1 in 5 adults have a mental health issue at any one time.

Suicide is preventable. Knowing the signs is a start, but not enough. The statement "It takes a village" has never been more appropriate than in the area of suicide and that prevention is a shared responsibility where every person has the potential to make a difference and save someone's life. Especially our youth. We all have a roll in suicide prevention and by working together we have a good chance to see the change we wish to see. Zero Attempts. Related information on Suicide

Finding Hope

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Rural mental health in coastal Southern Oregon and Northern California is particularly challenging

To change this we're looking for at least 240 individuals, and businesses, organizations, government entities and non-profits who rely on good employees, to donate $50 each for the production and distribution of over 22,000 16-page, four-color, glossy newspaper inserts to be placed in major newspapers in Coos, Curry and Del Norte counties in September which is Suicide Awareness and Prevention month.

Our goal is to remove the stigma around suicide by understanding suicide prevention and demystifying it with informational sections outlining important risk factors, warning signs, and contributing factors, how to intervene and talk with someone you are concerned about, what to say, how to determine if it is an emergency and what to do if it is.

It will have special sections on youth, veterans, and the elderly and a usually overlooked area - the impact of suicide on the workplace.

For your donation you will get your name or the name of your business or organization featured on the back cover joining many other community members to be part of the solution to reduce, eventually to Zero, the number of suicides and attempts in Coos, Curry and Del Norte counties. Send a $50 check today, made payable to United Way of Southwestern Oregon with "Finding Hope" in the memo field and send it to UWSWO, Attn.: Finding Hope, PO Box 1288, Coos Bay, OR 97420. Note whether you want your name or your organization's name listed or if you prefer to remain anonymous. Deadline has passed

We hope you see how valuable it could be to get this information in the homes of all of your neighbors where it's handy for reading and thinking about what they can do. We believe that the community will start noticing how many of their family, neighbors and friends might be on the verge of a crisis and how important it is to know what to do, and not do, to show you care.

Suicide is an all-time high in the U.S. and in Oregon. Join us to change that scenario to make a difference in people's lives and the lives and health of our communities. - Gordon Clay

Donors recognized

Instead of having a few large donors sponsor a project like this, we believe that it "Takes a village" to achieve Zero Attempts and so we are looking for at least 240 individuals (of the 112,000 people living here) plus businesses, organizations, and non-profits to show how much they care about the mental health of their fellow citizens and ask each to kick in 50 bucks to go towards the production and distribution of a 16-page, four-color newspaper Insert called "Suicide Awareness and Prevention: Finding Hope." The goal is to fill the back cover of the insert with donor names or the name of their business or organization to demonstrate how important community involvement is to break the stigma around talking about mental health and suicide. Deadline has passed

How to Donate

Please fill out this form and attach it to your $50 check. Donation deadline: Postmarked by June 28, 2019. Deadline has passed

Finding Hope Donation

Donor's Name __________________________________________________________
Donor's Organization (if applicable)_____________________ 501(c)(3): Yes __; No__
Mailing Address_____________________City___________________State__Zip_____
Pledge Amount: Minimum $50 ____________
Acknowledgment Use: My name __; My organization's name __: Remain Anonymous__
Donor's Signature________________________________________ Date____________
Make check payable to United Way of Southwestern Oregon with "Finding Hope" in the memo field.
Mail to UWSWO, Attn: Finding Hope, PO Box 1288, Coos Bay, OR 97420
United Way of Southwestern Oregon is registered as a nonprofit organization under section
501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Our Federal Identification Number is 93-0503188.
No goods or services were received in exchange for this donation.

Mini Grants

We plan to use any extra money to fund (501(c)(3) projects up to $500 concerning a public awareness project around suicidality. Funding will be made available if and only if we acquire funds over-and-above what is needed to get into all major newspapers in Coos, Curry and Del Norte counties. Application deadline June 28. Deadline has passed


Extra Inserts

Donors who would like extra copies to distribute within their organizations, in their lobbies and other places they see an opportunity to reach the remaining County citizens, may order additional copies for $125 a box of 375 which figures out to 33 cents per copy. Order deadline: Postmarked by June 28, 2019. These will be shipped to donors September 9. Deadline has passed

Finding Hope Insert Order

Donor's Name __________________________________________________________
Donor's Organization (if applicable)_____________________ 501(c)(3): Yes __; No__
Shipping Address____________________City___________________State__Zip_____
Phone contact___________________eMail Contact_____________________________
Number of Boxes (375 inserts per box) ____ Check total at $125 per box $_____ Signature________________________________________ Date____________
Make check payable to: Daily Courier with "Finding Hope" in the memo field.
Mail to: Daily Courier, P.O. Box 1468, Grants Pass, OR 97528
Order deadline: Postmarked by June 28, 2019

Oregon newsrooms team up to ‘break silence’ around suicide - Story Ideas

If you’re a regular reader of your local news, it’s likely you’ll have a good sense of how many people died in a car crash or of a terminal illness. But it’s less likely you’ll hear when somebody dies by suicide.

It’s partly because of a long-held rule across newsrooms not to report on suicide, out of respect for the family and from the belief that reporting on the topic could have a “contagious effect” and inspires others to also take their own lives.

While there’s some evidence for that logic, the nation’s growing number of suicides has become difficult for reporters to ignore. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the national suicide rate is at a 50-year high, climbing 33% since 1999. It’s estimated 25,000 Americans died by suicide in 2016 alone.

“Journalists stopped covering suicide for some very good reasons,” said Nicole Dahmen, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Oregon. “But the unintended consequence of that is that suicide has remained unreported, and death by suicide has been on the rise so much so that it’s become a public health crisis.”

The issue has prompted reporters in Oregon, which has a suicide rate 40% higher than the national average, to take a different approach to tackling the topic.

Over 30 newsrooms from around the state are banding together in an unprecedented, weeklong reporting collaboration to shed light on suicide and its effect on the community. The project, known as “Breaking the Silence,” will run from April 7 to 14 and involve newspapers, T.V. stations and student media organizations from across Oregon.

Stories will shed light on how the suicide crisis touches every community in the state, regardless of age, gender or sexuality. They’ll also showcase best prevention methods, and how different groups are working to save lives.

“With better information about the scope of the problem and the best practices by way of prevention, we in the media have the possibility of truly saving lives,” said Therese Bottomly, editor of The Oregonian/Oregon Live, one of the newsrooms participating in the project.

The initiative stemmed from a series of roundtables between Oregon media organizations and Dwight Holton, CEO of Lines for Life, a Portland-based suicide prevention nonprofit that also runs a number of crisis lines.

Holton, a former federal prosecutor, has previously counseled reporters on how to sensitively cover suicide by avoiding sensationalist details and by guiding readers toward support services. If done right, he said, journalists can do their part to break down misconceptions about mental health.

“The reality is we have a crisis around addiction and suicide,” he said. “Part of addressing that is changing the way journalists and communities talk and think about suicide.”

This type of project, he adds, takes on an added significance in Oregon, which, like other mountain states, is experiencing suicide rates far higher than the national average. Oregon’s suicide rate jumped 35% in less than two decades, and suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the state. The Oregon Health Authority estimates 825 people died by suicide in 2017, and approximately 14,000 people end up in the emergency room each year from trying to harm themselves.

The outcome of the weeklong reporting venture could have national implications on the way news organizations report on suicide in the future. Researchers with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline plan to monitor the response to the project, as will journalists with the University of Oregon’s Catalyst Journalism Project.

Dahmen, who is also a co-director of Catalyst, said she hopes the project can prove that journalists can effectively tell the story of suicide as a public health problem while still adhering to “a reporter’s ethical commitment to minimizing harm.”

That’s the message Holton wants to send, too. He hopes the initiative proves that reporting on suicide can begin a public dialogue on how to address suicide and mental health. Because complete radio silence on the issue, he said, does nothing but make the hidden crisis even worse.

“We have relegated suicide to a hushed topic, something we can’t talk about,” he said. “As long as we leave suicide in the shadows, we fuel a stigma that prevents people from getting help.”

Editor’s note: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 800-273-8255. The Crisis Text Line by texting "SOS" to 741741. Both services are national and provide free, 24/7 crisis support with a trained counselor.

Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence: Shining a light on Oregon's Suicide Crisis


During April 2019, newsrooms across the state highlighted the public health crisis of death by suicide. The goal of “Breaking the Silence” was to not only put a spotlight on a problem that claimed the lives of 825 Oregonians last year, but also examine research into how prevention can and does work and offer our readers, listeners and viewers resources to help if they – or those they know – are in crisis.

Most of the work was published and broadcast during the week of April 7-14. The participating media outlets used a common set of data and loosely coordinated their coverage in an effort to avoid duplication and better amplify the work of Breaking the Silence. (Editor's note: The 2017 Oregon Healthy Teen Survey was used for student information. Consider using the 2018 Oregon Student Wellness Survey instead. The mythodology is the same. The questions are the same. However, the even year surveys include 6th graders and in bullying and suicidality, this is an important age group to see and understand.)

Here are some of the storys

AP: Oregon newsrooms team up to 'break silence' around suicide

ALBANY DEMOCRAT-HERALD: Editorial: Some hope, but troubling numbers, in the fight against youth suicide

BLUE MOUNTAIN EAGLE: Zero suicide: a new approach to an old problem

CORVALLIS GAZETTE-TIMES: Crisis management: Corvallis volunteer works with text line
A culture of caring: OSU ramps up resources for students contemplating suicide

DAILY EMERALD: Opinion: Resources to help climb the mental health mountain
Let's talk about suicide
'Breaking the Silence' around Oregon's suicide crisis in Lane County

EAST OREGONIAN: Breaking the silence?

EUGENE WEEKLY: Willamette High School Pushes To Support Its Students

HERMISTON HERALD: Students hope for less silence on suicide
Choose to continue the sentence
Losses affect students left behind

JPR: Breaking The Silence: Talking About Suicide
JPR: Breaking The Silence: Postpartum Suicide Explored
Breaking The Silence: Compass Radio

KATU: How are Oregon lawmakers addressing youth suicide rates?
'Breaking The Silence': Reformed bully now working to be an advocate for kindness
'Breaking The Silence': Relationship with bullying and suicide is complicated

KBND: Breaking The Silence: Suicide Crisis in Rural Oregon

KGW: Parents offer advice after their teenagers died by suicide
Straight Talk: Breaking the silence about suicide in Oregon 14:53 video
KGW: Breaking the Silence: Youthline serves as critical resource for those in need
How Lincoln HS takes a direct approach to prevent teen suicide
Wyden, Merkley stress importance to fund mental health services, suicide prevention
Newburg student's senior project brings awareness to suicide prevention

KOBI: Five on 5: Kristin Fettig – Jackson County Mental Health

KOIN: Suicide to survival: One man's story of recovery
KOIN podcast: Breaking the Silence
Breaking the Silence: Social media and suicide

KPTV: South Albany High School takes part in nationwide pilot project on 'mental health first aid'
KPTV: Forest Grove woman who survived two suicide attempts shares her story to encourage others in criss
LOPD officer working full-time on suicide prevention, community outreach

KTVL: Law enforcement's tactics change when mental health gets involved
KTVL: With crisis training, officers can address deeper problems on calls

KTVZ: Bend veteran helps group that helped him
Helping struggling fellow veterans
Battle Buddies offer tail-wagging support
The Shield helps struggling vets
Camp victory workouts change lives

MAIL TRIBUNE: Breaking the Silence: Talk about it (Part 1)
Breaking the Silence: Give them hope (Part 2)
Breaking the Silence: A survivor's story (Part 3)

OPB: Morning Edition Research Shows We Should Talk About Suicide
Think Out Loud: Talking About Suicide
Morning Edition: Research Shows We Should Talk About Suicide
Two Youth Suicides Change A Small Oregon Town
Think Out Loud: Suicide Prevention In Native Communities?
LGBTQ Veterans Face Compounding Mental Health Challenges

OREGON CAPITAL BUREAU: Adi's Act: State invests to save students' lives

PAMPLIN MEDIA: 'Pushed to their limit'
Walking for suicide prevention
PAMPLIN MEDIA: Opinion: Talking about suicide can save lives

PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL: Construction workers are at high risk for suicide. Here's what the industry is doing about it
Banfield responds to high suicide rates among vets

POYNTER: Here's what it looks like when 30 media entities from one state work together

SALEM REPORTER: At Youth ERA, Salem teens find peers to talk about mental health, suicide

STREET ROOTS: Understanding the connection between eviction and suicide

THE CHRONICLE: How the community of St. Helens is planting a flower to combat suicide
Local Suicide Prevention Task Force forms to 'talk about it'
Training opportunities offered to educate the public on mental health intervention skills

THE LUND REPORT: Mental Health Workers Considering Suicide Not Alone

THE PACIFIC INDEX: Student athletes deal with the pressure of battling stress and depression while not wanting to seem ‘weak’

THE OREGONIAN: Breaking the Silence: Facts about Oregon's high suicide rates and help for those in crisis
Suicide rates in the mountain West are sky-high; now researchers are asking why
Breaking the silence on suicide
Through profound grief, I chose life
After five years with no suicides from Vista Bridge, Portland is considering permanent barriers
Breaking the silence – now it's our turn
Healing after a suicide attempt begins with opening up to others

THE STATESMAN JOURNAL: Behind the badge: Suicide's toll on police, other first responders

WILLAMETTE WEEK: As Suicide Rates Soar, an Oregon Republican Crosses the Gun Lobby to Help People in crisis

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