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2nd suicide at Eugene parking garage sheds light on need for prevention

Roger Brubaker, the suicide prevention coordinator for Lane County Public Health, said prevention and intervention are what we can actively do to keep these tragic deaths from happening.

Posted: Jul 15, 2019 8:02 PM
Updated: Jul 15, 2019 8:15 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- For the second time in six months, there has been a tragic death by suicide at the Overpark parking garage in downtown Eugene.

Back in February, a man died after jumping from the same garage during the afternoon rush.

While there is a concrete barrier to keep people from accidentally going over the edge, it's only about waist high. There is no fence to prevent people from intentionally jumping.

Roger Brubaker, the suicide prevention coordinator for Lane County Public Health, said even if there were fencing, it might not prevent somebody from picking a different spot.

"How we see ourselves as community members positioned to be responsible for the care of ourselves and others is probably one of the strongest driving influences behind the suicide rate," said Brubaker. "The more our community accepts a sense of shared responsibility around suicide prevention, that's when we will start seeing our numbers go down."

According to Lane County, our suicide rate is 50% higher than the national average.

But Brubaker said falling is one of the least likely ways people die by suicide.

Brubaker said prevention and intervention are what we can actively do to keep these tragic deaths from happening.

"When we know that people will find certain methods more or less acceptable," said Brubaker. "When we are able to remove those methods from their environment, that's an opportunity for intervention that does not necessarily treat the underlying mental health concern or distress that they're experiencing, but it can save their life."

And saving lives is what they are trying to do.

A police spokeswoman told KEZI 9 News that two deaths don't mean this parking garage will now become a target for these types of things.

If you or a loved one is suffering from thoughts of suicide, please call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

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