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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 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, Health Systems and the 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 the legislation is to ensure communities are prepared to respond to suicides in order to reduce the risk of additional 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.
Another provision of SB 561 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.
The following link provides access to the plan developed by the Oregon Health Authority for implementing SB 561.
The following link provides the OHA rules governing SB 561 implementation. The rules establish overall guidelines for communication and post-intervention response protocols for effective communication and response by local agencies, groups, or individuals.
The following link provides the form LMHA’s use to report suicides to OHA.

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

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