Suicide Can Be Prevented

“In February (2020) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data showing that suicide was the leading cause of death among Oregon youth ages 10 to 24 in 2018, up from the second leading cause of death in 2017. Oregon is now ranked 11th highest in the nation for youth suicide death rates (up from 17th in 2017).

The change in rank is due to multiple factors: There was a rise in the suicide rate as well as a drop in the rate of unintentional injury deaths, the former leading cause. The unintentional injury category includes overdose deaths and motor vehicle accidents. While the suicide rate has increased, the unintentional injury rate decreased from 2017 to 2018.” Oregon Health Authority

QPR Institute: Question, Persuade, Refer. Three steps anyone can learn to help prevent suicide.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

RESPONSE is a comprehensive high school-based program that increases awareness about suicide among high school staff, students and parents.

Lines for Life launches “BeThe1To” program to spread the word about preventing suicide.

Find the Suicide Prevention Resource Center resources and programs here.

Find the ZeroSuicide Toolkit here.

Firearm-related homicides in Oregon in 2018

  • 109 firearm-related homicides (Gun Violence Archive)
  • 26 officer-involved homicides. Nineteen people were fatally shot by law enforcement and seven fatally shot themselves during the incident.

Firearm-related suicides and homicides in Oregon, 2007-2018

Data compiled by Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation from Oregon Health Authority Annual Reports

Select the year to link to the OHA graph for that year.


Total firearm deathsFirearm homicideFirearm legal intervention

Firearm unintentional


Total suicide deaths (from all means)

Firearm suicides

Percent of firearm deaths that were suicide

Suicide by handgun*Suicide by long gun* 

* Type of firearm used was not recorded for all deaths.

N/A: Data was not available.

In Oregon, at least one person every day takes his or her life using a firearm.

To reduce the risk of suicide, keep all firearms securely locked, unloaded and stored separately from ammunition or store the firearms in another location such as a firearm storage facility. (If you transfer firearms to a friend, even temporarily, you are required by law to perform a background check on the person to whom you are transferring the firearms.)

When most people think of gun violence, they think of homicides or unintentional shootings. The reality, however, is that most shooting deaths in Oregon are suicides. In fact, about one person a day commits suicide with a gun in Oregon.

Firearm owners are not more suicidal than non-firearm owners; rather, their suicide attempts are more likely to be fatal. If highly lethal means are made less available to impulsive attempters and they substitute less lethal means, or temporarily postpone their attempt, their survival odds greatly increase. Studies in a variety of countries have indicated that when access to a highly lethal and leading suicide method is reduced, the overall suicide rate drops driven by a drop in the restricted method.

Did you know?

  • Firearms used in youth suicide usually belong to a parent. 1
  • Suicide was the leading cause of death among persons 10-24 years of age in Oregon in 2018. 2
  • The rate of veteran suicide in Oregon is higher than both the Oregon general suicide rate and the national veteran suicide rate: 39.4 per 100,000 vs. 23.1 and 30.1, respectively. 3

Are you a teacher? Learn the signs of suicide and what you can do to prevent a tragedy. Read the Oregon Health Authority’s informational page “What Every Teacher Should Know” or download the brochure.

The Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation partners with Lines for Life and the Oregon Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

For more information: Oregon Violent Death Reporting System, Oregon Injury and Violence Prevention Program: Data Contact: Xun Shen, Suicide 83% Homicide 13% Legal intervention 2% Unintentional shooting 1% Undetermined shooting 1% Firearm Fatalities by Intent, Oregon, 2010-2014 (N=2,280)

  1. Source of Firearms in Youth Suicides, Harvard School of Public Health
  2. New CDC data shows suicide was leading cause of death among Oregon youth in 2018
  3. VA Portland tackles veteran suicides on a variety of fronts
  4. Firearms were involved in most suicides (52%), followed by hanging (34%).
  5. Many suicide attempts occur with little planning during a short-term crisis.
  6. 90% of attempters who survive do NOT go on to die by suicide later.
  7. Reducing access to lethal means like guns saves lives. [4. Suicide, Guns, and Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health