Suicide in Jackson County: Double the National Rate

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, February 14 2012 at 6:07 PM, Updated: Wed, February 15 2012 at 12:38 AM

Nearly every day people in our community try to take their lives.

"Before honestly it didn't happen nearly as often, it would be once a week, once every couple of weeks it seems like it's happening all the time now and the statistics show that," said Sergeant Mike Budreau of the Medford Police Department.

In fact, Oregon's suicide rate is more than 35% higher than the national average. But what about Jackson County? We're double the national rate.

"More people commit suicide than die in car crashes, or drug overdoses," said Sgt. Budreau. "It's definitely what is taking the lives of the people in our community."

White City couple find body of apparent suicide victim

On Tuesday, as NBC 5 was learning more about suicide in Jackson County, a call came in around 10 in the morning. A couple, found a man hanging from a tree off Salt Creek Road in Jackson County. A Jackson County Sheriffs Deputy said it was an apparent suicide.

"I saw a guy up against a tree," began Jesse Bogart, the man who found the body. "When I looked back the second time that's when I saw that he had a rope around his neck," he said.

Bogart and his wife said it was a shocking and terrible discovery they never expected to see on their hike through the woods.

Medford Police: "We've seen a 42% increase in suicides and attempted suicides in 2011."

Hours after the Bogarts found the suicide victim in the woods, the Medford Police responded to an attempted suicide. 

"We just sent officers out on a female who shot herself in the head," said Sgt. Budreau as he began his interview with NBC 5.

State records indicate more than 70% of suicide victims had a diagnosed mental disorder, alcohol or drug problems or depression.

Most suicide victims were not getting treatment at the time of their death.

Warning signs and helpful information

Here are a few warning signs to watch out for:

- Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself

- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

For more warning signs and other resources, click here.

There are also multiple resources here in Jackson County. Many of which can be found on the Jackson County Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition's website

If you are thinking about committing suicide and need help, there's a hotline you can call: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

Connect with Christine

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