September 30th, 2013 | by ANDREA DAMEWOOD News | Posted In: PDX News, Cops and Courts

CORRECTED: Portland's Suicide Rate Three Times National Average, Portland Police Say

vista_bridge_from_jefferson_street,_looking_east_(2012)Steve Morgan, Wikimedia Commons

CORRECTION AND UPDATE 12/3/2013: This blog post relies on statistics provided by the Portland Police Bureau that greatly overstated the Portland suicide rate compared to that of the United States as a whole.



ORIGINAL POST:


The Portland Police released an analysis of suicides in the city this morning, and the results are grim: Portland's suicide rate is about three times the national average.

The bureau's Behavioral Health Unit looked at suicides between April 2011 and June 2013 and found there were a total of 202 completed suicides—a rate of 34.4 suicides per 100,000—over that time period. The 2010 national rate was 12.4 suicides per 100,000 people.

On average, someone commits suicide in the city every 3.9 days, with the highest rate of suicide in summer months, police found.

The study comes as Portland grapples with what to do to stop people from killing themselves by jumping from the Vista Bridge, known as the "Suicide Bridge." The Portland Bureau of Transportation this summer installed temporary screens across the Southwest Portland span and city leaders are holding discussions to find a permanent solution.

Portland Police have also been caught up in the city's mental health crisis: A federal lawsuit is pending over findings by the U.S. Department of Justice that police use excessive force against the mentally ill.

The bureau's analysis (PDF) has a multi-faceted breakdown of the numbers. White men are the most likely to commit suicide; they accounted for 73.3 percent of all suicides in the city's analysis. 

The average age of someone committing suicide is 44.9, with the oldest person being 89 and the youngest just 10 years old.

WW news partner KATU released a story in advance of a 10 am press conference.

Police have also created a suicide prevention YouTube video:


 
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