During these unprecedented times, it is natural to be concerned about suicide risk in our communities. Suicide is the most preventable form of death and something we can all do to help prevent suicide is to promote resources in our community.

“Deschutes County has certainly been impacted by suicide death; and unfortunately, so far this year we have been seeing suicide deaths consistent with our average rate over the last few years,” said Whitney Schumacher, Deschutes County Suicide Prevention Coordinator. “We have not seen a correlation between COVID-19 and suicide in Deschutes County. However, our local suicide rate is one of the highest in the state, which is why it is important that we as a community continue to prioritize suicide prevention work.”

Suicide is a complex public health issue and no single thing causes a person to take their life. However, health officials state that there are warning signs we can all keep a lookout for:

• Social isolation — physically distancing ourselves does not mean we need to socially disconnect, health officials assert. Reach out to folks in your life, whether they are near or far.

• Despair caused by financial hardship, job loss, or other stressful life events.

• Excessive levels of anxiety, panic, or depression.

• Increasing use of alcohol or drugs.

• Access to lethal means — suicides can be avoided if people do not have an easy way to act on suicidal impulses during their most vulnerable moments. Safe storage of lethal means is key to helping prevent suicide.

Suicide during this unprecedented time is not inevitable. We’re all in this together, help is a phone call away:

• Deschutes County Crisis Line: 541-322-7500 x9.

• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

• Central Oregon Suicide Prevention Alliance’s Resource page: www.preventsuicideco.org.

• If you are 55 or older and feeling isolated or just want to have a friendly conversation, call the Senior Loneliness Line at 503-200-1633.

• If you are 21 or younger and want support for any problem, big or small, text teen2teen to 839863 or call YouthLine at 1-877-968-8491.