STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Jackson County sees record number of suicides in 2018

NewsWatch12 spoke with officials across the county to find out what resources are available to those in crisis.

Posted: May 21, 2019 7:18 PM
Updated: May 21, 2019 7:35 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- Recently, a middle school student in the Medford School District committed suicide. Monday on NewsWatch12 at 5, we broke down a new study that shows a spike in suicide rates among young girls over the last decade.

Last year, Jackson County had the highest number of suicides in history, according to officials with the Jackson County Suicide Prevention Center. Since then, teams began working throughout the community to change that by educating people about suicide prevention.

So far this year, officials said suicide rates seem to be decreasing throughout the county.

On Tuesday, NewsWatch12 spent the day researching what local resources are available to those in crisis. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a great place to start when looking for help, it is accessible online or by phone via text messaging. On the website, there's a list of resources available throughout the Jackson County, including support groups and other informative sessions to educate the community on suicide prevention. There is also a 24 hour hotline that people in crisis can call: 1-800-273-8255.

NewsWatch12 also spoke with Medford School District to find out what exactly is available to students that need help. Officials said two years ago they actually launched a team of licensed counselors to support students.

"We do have schools that have experienced suicides and it’s something that is really difficult for students and young adults and even adults to process," Natalie Hurd, the Medford School District Communications Specialist, said. "We know that it's important to have people that are trained in this area to talk to kids and say if you're having these feelings it's normal you're not alone we're here for you and let's work through this together."

Schools also have a new step-by-step guide for staff to use when a crisis does happen.

Susan Holt's 15-year-old daughter, Grace, took her own life in 2016.

"I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that it was actually suicide, and I thought of it as an accident, part of me still believes that," Holt told NewsWatch12. 

Jackson County Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Kristin Fettig, said there's a list of warning signs parents can look for.

"So the signs that we see are all different, but if you look at signs of depression or symptoms of depression and a lot of them go along with thoughts of suicide," Fettig said. 

But Holt said her daughter didn't show any of these warning signs. Now she's warning parents that the signs might not always be clear. 

"When she passed, every teacher, every friend, everyone said all they did was see her smile all the time, they never saw her look sad and nobody believed it everyone was in shock," Holt said. 

In the months leading up to Graces' death, Holt said her daughter did admit to feeling depressed sometimes.

"She wrote a note that said my life is wonderful, I don't understand why I feel so sad."

Although Grace did start counseling to help with her depression, Holt said there are things she wishes she would have done differently.

"I would say listen instead of talk so much. Like when I look back I think 'gosh I did a lot of talking,'" Holt said. "And never ever take depression lightly."

Now more than ever, she says educating people on suicide prevention is important. Losing someone you love to suicide is a pain she said she can't put into words.

"I'm not sure that there's a harder thing to survive and to be really honest, I didn't think that I would the first year."

Fettig wants people to know that seeking help isn't as scary as it seems.

"It's not how people portray it, like a padded room," Fettig said. "It's just caring people like me and you here in the room saying we care about you were trying to work through this crisis with you."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 173626

Reported Deaths: 2457
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34641566
Washington23309229
Marion20037299
Clackamas15216204
Lane11478144
Jackson9846127
Umatilla795383
Deschutes698772
Linn410763
Yamhill407074
Malheur342558
Polk341752
Klamath340859
Josephine304262
Douglas302765
Benton272518
Jefferson205932
Coos196631
Columbia153326
Union141124
Lincoln129720
Wasco128628
Hood River112429
Morrow107815
Clatsop8838
Crook86819
Baker85114
Curry5919
Tillamook5763
Lake4137
Grant4044
Harney3046
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam551
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3714587

Reported Deaths: 60922
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122811823601
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2944644544
San Diego2745663662
Orange2687624886
Santa Clara1167722013
Kern1077641317
Sacramento1010581646
Fresno1004311642
Alameda850891475
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa66839781
Stanislaus603061028
Tulare49383829
Monterey43260352
San Mateo41050560
San Francisco35947517
Santa Barbara33830446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29632311
Imperial27920718
Kings22755245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16234239
Santa Cruz15554203
Marin13851226
Yolo13547199
Shasta11677217
Butte11529196
El Dorado9688109
Napa965479
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito596963
Lassen566624
Tehama543056
Nevada444775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador361646
Humboldt358737
Lake339943
Glenn235425
Colusa219216
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4197
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned610
Medford
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 61°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 45°
Medford
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 61°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 61°
Klamath Falls
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Very warm Sunday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events