HEALTH TOPICS A-Z
Suicide is a tragic, preventable cause of death. According to Washington State Department of Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals 10 – 24 years of age and the eighth leading cause of death for all individuals in both Washington State and Spokane County. Among Spokane county residents, each year there is an average of 300 hospitalizations for suicide attempts and 70 completed suicides.
Suicide Prevention advocates report that approximately 80% of people who complete suicide have exhibited warning signs or talked about suicide. By providing current statistics and information about available prevention strategies, Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) strives to have a positive impact on suicide rates in Spokane County.
SRHD recently transitioned its Suicide Prevention program to a community-shared leadership model, a coalition referred to as Prevent Suicide Spokane. Historically, SRHD was the lead agency for the coalition. During a time of fiscal challenges, SRHD has to examine its programs and services to identify which areas can be sustained by other agencies and groups in the community. Fortunately, there is agency and other support for suicide prevention in Spokane and SRHD can serve as a leader in providing transition from one lead agency to a shared leadership model.
Spokane County - Suicide Prevention Resources (PDF)
Local resources, including counseling, treatment, support services, prevention education, and information about the Spokane County Suicide Prevention Coalition
Elder Depression, What You Need to Know (PDF)
Older adults have a 50% higher risk for suicide than young people or the nation as a whole, and white men over the age of 80 are six times more likely to commit suicide than any other demographic group. This brochure discusses depression screening & lists area resources.
Reporting on Suicide: Recommendations for the Media
The media can play a powerful role in educating the public about suicide prevention. Stories about suicide can inform, but have the potential to do harm. Following these suggestions when covering suicide can help decrease suicide rates.
Suicide in Spokane County – 2005-2009 fact sheet (PDF)
Warning signs needing immediate attention:
- Threatening to or talking about hurting or killing themselves
- Seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means of suicide
- Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary
Additional warning signs:
- Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
- No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
- Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and society
- Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
- Dramatic mood changes
What to Do
What to do if a friend or family member displays the warning signs:
- Take it seriously.
- Ask the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” This will show the person that you are concerned about them. You will open communication and allow the person to express their thoughts freely.
- Listen intently to their reasons for wanting to die and listen for reasons that they have to live (you may have to help them recognize these).
- Persuade them to seek help from a qualified professional or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for help.
- If he or she has expressed an immediate plan, or has access to a gun or other potentially deadly means, do not leave him or her alone.
Links to additional information:
National Suicide Lifeline
1 (800) 273-TALK
First Call for Help Crisis Hotline
OR Call 911
OR walk into any hospital emergency room