Friday, October 24, 2008

Kinda Makes One Wonder

Although there’s no mention of Assisted Suicide/Death with Dignity in this article, I wonder if the “culture” in Oregon might have something to do with this? I wonder...

Suicides nearly double in Portland this year

PORTLAND -- In March, a middle-aged man jumped to his death from a parking garage in downtown Portland. Six months later, a 38-year-old woman leaped from the same one.
Though such public suicides are rare, they are becoming more common in the area that includes Portland's high-rise buildings and bridges that cross the Willamette River.
Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 20, the Portland Police Bureau's Central Precinct recorded 61 suicides or attempted suicides, compared with 33 during the same period a year ago.

Troubled by the numbers, Police Chief Rosie Sizer and Central Precinct Cmdr. Mike Reese contacted Multnomah County officials to discuss a course of action. Within the next month, Central Precinct police plan to start sharing their incident reports on every suicide attempt with the county so experts can provide follow-up care to those who survive.

What's causing more people to attempt the act is unknown, but caseworkers suspect the faltering economy is at least partly to blame. The state's Suicide Hot line has fielded many calls this year from people who are in tough financial situations.
"We're definitely getting a spike in calls from people who are more concerned about issues impacting their everyday life," said hot line director Leslie Storm.
Portland Officer Betty Woodward, who patrols downtown, told The Oregonian newspaper that the increased collaboration between police and county experts will be a "huge step forward."

Often, police call an ambulance and the survivor goes to a hospital, but the officers don't know what happens next. Woodward said she's tried to "hunt down" a person's doctor or caseworker, but it's not easy, and most officers don't have the time to search.

This is where the county will step in under the new plan.
Woodward, who has been trained in crisis intervention, said she has persuaded suicidal people not to leap, but also lost people she couldn't convince.

"When you arrive to a call, and it's too late, I don't have good words for that," she said. "You don't even get to try. You can't do anything. It's horrible, pitiful, an absolute waste."

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