The second most common cause of death people ages 10-34 in the U.S. is suicide. Ranking 15th in the U.S., Oregon has one of the highest percentages of deaths due to suicide. This sobering statistic is all the more disturbing when it is brought into consideration that it is a subject that hits close to home, as some students at ACA struggle with suicidal ideation. “I do have kids come to me who are thinking about suicide,” says Alicia Heinsoo, the school counselor at ACA. “It’s real.”
“If you had kids suddenly dying at these rates from a new disease or infection, there would be a huge outcry. But most people don’t even know this is happening. It’s not recognized for the public health crisis it has become,” said Lisa Horowitz, a pediatric psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health, in an interview with the Washington Post for an article about increasing rates of teen suicide that was published this month. This statement rings true. A recent
article in the Portland Tribune was titled Oregon Schools Failing on Suicide Prevention. Many schools in Oregon are seeking to do more to prevent suicide, although it is a subject that people are still working to more fully understand. Although ACA has been spared of known suicides thus far, suicide is a real and pressing issue. “I think there’s a stigma behind it from society, making it feel like it’s something we should hide,” say Chloe Lute, a Junior at ACA.
There are a large amount of factors contributing to suicide, ranging from a stressful family life to heavy academic and/or work pressure. “Sometimes people have a really specific reason for committing suicide, but more often than not, it’s because to aren’t feeling validated, or they find things that validate thoughts they have about low self-worth,” says Mrs. Heinsoo.
So what can people do if they have a friend or family member who has expressed thoughts of suicide? “Therapists and counselors can be
helpful, but as a friend, you can make the biggest impact on whether or not someone decides to commit suicide,” continues Heinsoo. “So pay close attention to the warning signs.”
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, there is hope. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255), which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone, and all calls are confidential.If you know someone who may be in danger, seek help immediately. It all starts with you.
Statistics of suicide in the U.S.
Statistic about suicide in Oregon.
Heinsoo, Alicia. “Re. Question about ACA students and suicide.” Received by Jack Taggart. October 22, 2019.
A statement about suicide from Lisa Horowitz.
Lute, Chloe. Email interview.“Re. Question about the issue of suicide.” Received by Jack Taggart. October 28, 2019.
Heinsoo, Alicia. “Re. Question about warning signs of suicide.” Received by Jack Taggart. October 22, 2019.
Heinsoo, Alicia. “Re. Question about suicide awareness in Oregon.” Received by Jack Taggart. October 22, 2019.