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Monday, September 30, 2013

How Bad is Portland's Problem with Suicide? Cops Crunch the Numbers

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 12:44 PM

The city's difficult issues with suicide have been more front-and-center of late than is typical. Media coverage—usually limited to public suicides—has swirled around a spate of people jumping off the Vista Bridge, and the controversial barrier officials have put in place to prevent them.

But the problem goes far deeper than that, of course, and a new report released by the Portland Police Bureau's Behavioral Health Unit this morning offers up some stark statistics. Portland's suicide rate from April 2011 to June 2013—the study's date range—was nearly three times the national average. White males made up the overwhelming majority of the suicides police saw in that time. That number, by the way, was 202, compared to 121 homicides and traffic deaths in the same time period.

"Suicide is one of Oregon’s most persistent yet largely preventable public health problems; it is the second leading cause of death among Oregonians ages 15-34, and the eighth leading cause of
death among all Oregonians in 2010," the document says.

From the report [pdf]:

Screen_shot_2013-09-30_at_12.02.52_PM.png

The point of releasing the data, cops say, is to get the word out that these deaths are preventable, and to encourage people to reach out to acquaintances in crisis. Here's a video that accompanied the report.

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