LANE COUNTY, Ore.- Since the beginning of 2018, five adolescents have committed suicide in Lane County. Now, the county has activated the incident command structure, hoping to prevent more deaths.
Although the county is not discussing any specific details of those cases, we do know that three of those suicides have happened just in the past two weeks.
The average number of adolescent suicides is seven per year, according to county officials.
KEZI 9 News met with Roger Brubaker, who is the suicide prevention coordinator for Lane County. He said the incident command structure is activated when the department feels they have exhausted all of their resources. They said they have never had to activate for a situation like the one the county is facing now.
The Oregon Health Authority will join in the effort, along with local crisis teams, to provide support to students and teachers who may be needing it.
Brubaker said the most important thing to do right now is to come together as a community.
“Even if suicide has not impacted you directly, or your friends and family, it does impact our community. And what we really want for people to understand is how important it is that we offer compassionate support to all members of our community so that we can prevent future suicides,” he said.
Brubaker encourages teachers, family members, and friends to look out for warning signs and know what to do if someone is considering suicide.
“Ask that person that you're concerned about. Provide them with hope in any form, that you are there for them, willing to help them. Then provide them with a connection to resources," Brubaker added. "When people connect with other people, that's what protects them from suicide.”
Brubaker said signs people should watch out for include depression, substance abuse, bullying or being bullied, or any kind of traumatic stress.
If you or anyone you know needs someone to talk to call the national suicide lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.