EUGENE, Ore. -- Suicide is a big issue across the country and in Oregon, and one woman has been working to change that.
Last week, Sara Scofield, a field ambassador with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, was in Washington, D.C., advocating for more suicide prevention programs and resources.
Along with other AFSP representatives across the country, she urged lawmakers to vote for $150 million in funding for many suicide prevention resources across the country that already exist. She said the funding would help improve programs and help them reach more people.
She said many Oregon legislators are already on board and are working toward addressing many mental health issues.
The funding can also help save lives in Oregon, where according to the AFSP, someone dies from suicide in Oregon every 11 hours.
It’s a statistic that hit close to home for her.
Scofield’s father took his life when she was nine years old. Her brother died from suicide in 2011. She said she has struggled with bipolar disorder and even attempted suicide herself.
After suffering for years, Scofield said she first realized there was hope when she went to the annual Out of the Darkness Walk, hosted by the AFSP. She said it was then that she no longer felt alone.
Now, she is speaking up to help break the stigma and to create change.
"My mission is to be the voice for people who don't have a voice,” Scofield said. “Those who are struggling and those who are in grief and are afraid to come out of the darkness and speak about it. I'm here to try, and by example say, it's okay, you can do it."
She said she also wants community members to know there are resources available to help them.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach out to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Oregon Chapter or the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Lane County. You can also reach out to CAHOOTS, which is a mobile crisis intervention team that’s part of the White Bird Clinic.