Portland police look to reverse staggering suicide statistics - WNEM TV 5

Portland police look to reverse staggering suicide statistics

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A staggering number of people are taking their own lives every month in the Portland area.

Between April 2011 and June 2013, 202 local people committed suicide, according to a new report released by the Portland Police Bureau's Behavioral Health Unit.

That represents a rate of 34.4 per 100,000 people over that time period. That is nearly three times the 2010 national rate of 12.4 per 100,000.

Now, Portland police are taking steps to improve the growing problem and officers are asking for your help.

"If you know anyone who is depressed, ask the question," said Chief Michael Reese. "Ask them if they are contemplating suicide. It's a courageous question."

There was an average of 7.5 local suicides per month during the review period, according to the bureau's report. The longest time between suicides during the 26-month reporting period was just 23 days. The average time was about every four days.

The average age was 45 years old. The oldest person was 89, while the youngest was 10 years old.

Men represented 84 percent of the total. Caucasians represented nearly 88 percent overall.

For perspective, Portland police compared the suicide figures to other crimes. Between April 2011 and June 2013, there were 68 traffic fatalities and 53 homicides in Portland.

Police said support plays a critical role in intervening and preventing suicides. If you or someone you know is experiencing an immediate mental health crisis, there are places to turn.

Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare's urgent walk-in clinic can be contacted at 503-963-2575. The Lines for Life Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK. The Multnomah County Crisis Line is 503-988-4888.

The Portland Police Bureau also released an online video that stresses: "Suicide is preventable. Help is available." It can be viewed by clicking this link.

Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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