Suicide Awareness Week draws attention to prevention education

Community members can work together to prevent suicide, learn to recognize suicidal behaviors

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter

Editor’s Note: This story is part of the news section’s Mental Health Series and contains themes of suicide and other mental health issues. If you need help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. If you would like to share a story idea for the Mental Health Series or would like to share your mental health experience, please email news@dailyevergreen.com. 

 

Sept. 5-11 marks Suicide Awareness Week, recognizing the importance of helping those who struggle with mental health.

Like any other community, Pullman Police officers encounter many reports relating to suicide, Operations Cmdr. Jake Opgenorth said.

Since Aug. 1, 2020, Pullman PD has received 144 reports relating to suicide, Opgenorth said. Those calls consist of both people reporting an acquaintance showing signs of a potential suicide attempt and attempts resulting in death. Out of the 144 calls, three resulted in death.

“Three is too many,” he said. “We can aim for zero.”

HENRY DIEN
Struggling with mental health is common and nothing to be ashamed of. Having the proper resources available helps to avoid suicidal tendencies.

Opgenorth said people often suffer alone. If the community can recognize the signs of a potential suicide attempt, it can be prevented. 

Pullman has multiple resources for people who are struggling with mental health or considering suicide. He said one resource, the Whitman County Suicide Prevention and Resiliency Task Force, helps spread awareness about suicide prevention and education.

Palouse River Counseling and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are also available to the community. Cougar Health Services caters more closely to students and is easily accessible, Opgenorth said. 

Struggling with mental health is common and nothing to be ashamed of, he said. Having the proper resources available helps to avoid suicidal tendencies.

“If we care enough about our fellow people to recognize it and try to help … I think that would reduce what we are seeing,” Opgenorth said. “It can be prevented.”