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Oregon's suicide rate rose in 2019, except among youth

Published CDC statistics saw Oregon rise to the nation's ninth highest suicide rate over 2019, but deaths among young people actually declined for the first time in years.

Posted: Mar 4, 2021 3:43 PM
Updated: Mar 4, 2021 3:50 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — Published CDC statistics saw Oregon rise to the nation's ninth highest suicide rate over 2019, but deaths among young people actually declined for the first time in several years.

Oregon was 17th in the nation for suicide deaths in 2018, and 15th the year before that, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Federal data logged 906 deaths by suicide in 2019, or a rate of 20.4 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 844 deaths in 2018 and 825 in 2017.

"The 2019 change in ranking is due to several factors, including a 2.1% decrease in suicide deaths nationwide and increased suicide rates in Oregon," OHA said in a statement.

Despite the overall bad news regarding Oregon's rate of suicides in 2019, the data for youth looked more promising. The rate of suicides for people between the ages of 10 and 24 decreased for the first time since 2015. However, Oregon remains 11th highest in the nation for youth suicide deaths.

“Every loss to suicide is a tragedy,” said Dr. Dean E. Sidelinger, health officer and state epidemiologist at Oregon Health Authority. “Our state has done a tremendous amount of work in suicide prevention in the past two years, including launching new programs that provide emotional support for COVID-19 concerns."


RELATED: Oregon receives grant to establish three-digit National Suicide Prevention hotline


The state of mental health has increasingly become another battleground in the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly concerning young people kept away from schools by coronavirus restrictions. In spite of that, the OHA claims that the youth suicide rate looks to have "decreased again" in 2020 based on preliminary data, which has yet to be finalized by the CDC.

"While it appears that Oregon has not seen increased deaths by suicide linked to the pandemic in 2020, Oregon’s rates of suicide in recent years are still concerning," Sidelinger continued. "After all, Oregon remains above the national average for suicides, and above average for youth age groups as well.”

There were about 90 fewer suicides across all ages in Oregon throughout 2020 over the year prior, according to the preliminary data, and 28 fewer than in 2018. Suicide-related visits to emergency rooms and urgent care clinics also appear to have plateaued over the past several months, OHA indicated.

"Call volume to Lines for Life, a regional substance abuse and suicide prevention nonprofit that operates several crisis helplines, has increased annually since 2016," OHA continued. "There have been no increases in call volume beyond what’s expected, and of the crisis calls staff answer, roughly the same percent of callers reported thinking about suicide in 2020 as those who did in 2019."

Efforts to combat suicide and provide greater support are underway and will increasingly come to fruition over the next several years. A bill passed in 2019 established a Youth Suicide Prevention program that is now available in schools statewide, and a new program focused on preventing adult suicide is set to roll out this fall.

Congress passed a bill to establish a three-digit National Suicide Prevention hotline, and Oregon received a grant to help set up the necessary infrastructure. OHA says that it also received federal funding to provide safer and more specific suicide care for adults 25 and older through the Zero Suicide Initiative model.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please know that help is available:

  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 run by Lines For Life at 800-273-8255 or text “273TALK” to 839863 (text services available Monday–Friday, 2–6 p.m. Pacific Time). The Veterans Crisis Lines can be reached by calling the above number and pressing “1.” En español: 1-888-628-9454. TTY: Dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255.
  • YouthLine is a teen-to-teen crisis and help line. Teens are available to help daily from 4–10 p.m. Pacific Time (off-hour calls answered by Lines for Life). Call 877-968-8491, text “teen2teen” to 839863 or chat at oregonyouthline.org.
  • See Crisis Services by Oregon County and a list of crisis lines on OHA’s website.
  • The Safe + Strong website and helpline operate 24/7 (1-800-923-4357). Safe + Strong is designed to support people who are facing challenges related to COVID-19 or other life stressors. Use the website as a tool to help make sense of what you’re going through and to learn more about what resources and support can help you, your loved ones, and the communities you live and work in.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 345344

Reported Deaths: 4084
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54651678
Washington37724310
Marion35705439
Clackamas28835298
Lane26661291
Jackson22465297
Deschutes19252122
Umatilla14081139
Linn12200114
Douglas11664238
Josephine9174191
Yamhill8438108
Klamath7549106
Polk707380
Malheur542374
Benton521531
Coos481591
Columbia368143
Jefferson355650
Union309944
Lincoln306033
Wasco275839
Crook263643
Clatsop238027
Baker195628
Tillamook191926
Hood River186036
Morrow180223
Curry177019
Harney106424
Grant96512
Lake86910
Wallowa65712
Gilliam1484
Sherman1453
Wheeler941
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4802761

Reported Deaths: 70456
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147341026379
Riverside3689534978
San Diego3631694151
San Bernardino3558485562
Orange3224975513
Sacramento1574982273
Santa Clara1443001886
Fresno1437452048
Kern1437161600
Alameda1197741365
San Joaquin1016431696
Ventura1004421162
Contra Costa99102969
Stanislaus849231310
Tulare78753945
San Francisco53974644
San Mateo53781618
Monterey50676582
Solano45734334
Santa Barbara44770518
Merced41680577
Sonoma40638400
Placer38813412
Imperial35591762
Kings32197312
San Luis Obispo29590330
Madera23420281
Butte23298257
Shasta23230334
Santa Cruz20830217
Yolo20092247
Marin17570243
El Dorado16947149
Sutter13762169
Napa12797100
Yuba992780
Tehama9240103
Humboldt9085108
Nevada902590
Mendocino751686
Lassen743743
San Benito735972
Tuolumne671793
Lake6499103
Amador536763
Siskiyou442742
Glenn429930
Calaveras380279
Del Norte355739
Colusa301618
Inyo194239
Mono16285
Plumas15476
Mariposa126215
Trinity85811
Modoc6678
Sierra1710
Unassigned1480
Alpine1020
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