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Youth Suicide Prevention

Suicide in Oregon

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds in Oregon, and suicide rates in Oregon have been higher than U.S. rates over the past 10 years. Rates of youth suicide have been rising since 2011. The Oregon Legislature, concerned over this trend, commissioned the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in 2014 to:
 
  • Prepare and oversee implementation of a five-year Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Plan;
  • Provide technical assistance in suicide prevention and intervention to Oregon communities and partners; and
  • Submit an annual report to the Oregon Legislature on the state of youth suicides in Oregon.
During 2015, OHA's Health Systems Division and Public Health Division partnered with subject matter experts to create the Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Plan for 2016 - 2020.

Post-Suicide Intervention

Senate Bill 561 (2015) requires Local Mental Health Authorities as defined in ORS 430.630 to work with partners to develop plans for information-sharing and response when suicides occur. The requirements involve deaths of individuals 24 years or younger.
  • The purpose of SB 561 is to prepare communities to respond to suicides in order to reduce the risk of more suicide among those left behind after the death. Studies show that children, youth and young adults are susceptible to suicide themselves (contagion) after the death of a friend, loved one or peer.
  • SB 561 also requires LMHAs to report deaths of individuals 24 years or younger to OHA within 7 days of death so that OHA can provide technical assistance on best practices in responding to suicides and reducing contagion risks.

Resources:

Workforce Development

A competent and confident behavioral and physical healthcare workforce can ensure early identification of suicide risk and use of evidence-informed strategies to address the needs of suicidal individuals. 60 to 70 percent of individuals who die by suicide see a medical or behavioral healthcare professional in the year before death.
 
Senate Bill 48 (2017) was designed to support the behavioral and physical healthcare workforce by promoting continuing education in suicide assessment, treatment and management.
  • SB 48 requires certain behavioral and physical healthcare providers to report to their licensing boards, at re-licensure, any suicide assessment, treatment and management continuing education they’ve taken.
  • Licensees affected by the law are: Nurses, physicians, physician assistants, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, naturopaths, chiropractors, social workers, psychologists, school counselors, physician assistants, physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and occupational therapists,.
OHA, on behalf of the relevant boards, surveys providers at re-licensure as part of its regular Health Care Workforce Reporting program. The Oregon Medical Board and the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission, which licenses school counselors, conduct their own surveys. Information gathered in all of the surveys is compiled and reported to the Legislature by OHA in each even-numbered year.
 
Licensees can consider the following resources for continuing education under SB 48.

Contact and Additional Information

For more information about youth suicide intervention or to request technical assistance, contact:
Ann D. Kirkwood
Suicide Intervention Coordinator
Email: Ann D. Kirkwood
503-752-4660

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