Clackamas County employees, partners and residents came together May 4 to kick off Mental Health Awareness Month by planting Signs of Hope in the Red Soils Campus Circle of Honor.
The signs' inspirational messages remind those who may be struggling with mental health issues: "You are not alone." Mental health concerns are as common as physical health concerns, county officials say, and there are county employees trained to help people find and get the resources they need.
"There is hope" signs encouraged county residents to reach out for this help. County officials said how people feel now doesn't have to last, but getting help and support early is important. There are many support services and treatment options available.
Clackamas County Behavioral Health, Clackamas Health Centers and community partners offer a wide variety of services to children, youth, families and adults.
"One in five adults and one in six youth experience mental health issues each year — they think they're alone and hopeless, but they're not," said County Administrator Gary Schmidt. "We need to do our part as county employees to help people know that."
County employees and partners also will host Signs of Hope rally events at busy intersections during the morning and evening commute hours and will take the signs from the Circle of Honor later this month and display them at locations throughout the county.
Clackamas County deaths from suicide decreased slightly last year, but county officials remain concerned about the suicide rate increase over the past decade, especially among residents ages 45 to 64. There were 72 county residents who died by suicide in 2021, compared to 54 in 2018, 68 in 2019 and 79 in 2020.
Several resources are available in Clackamas County for anyone experiencing suicide ideation or for anyone who has been impacted by suicide in any way, including the Suicide Prevention Coalition, the county's group of professionals who have partnered with survivors of suicide loss and attempts.
Last May the coalition began suicide fatality reviews in partnership between the county's Health, Housing and Human Services Division and the state Medical Examiner's office, to examine systemic barriers to health care access that may have contributed to their deaths from suicide.
Learn how to help friends, neighbors, co-workers or others suffering a mental health or emotional crisis. Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties have joined together to create a one-stop gateway where community members can register for free mental health first-aid trainings at gettrainedtohelp.com.
See below for a list of resources related to suicide prevention and mental health support.
• Clackamas County Crisis Line
Provides 24/7, free and confidential support.
• Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741 24/7 crisistextline.org/texting-in
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
• Oregon Youthline
Text: teen2teen to 839863
• Senior Loneliness Line
• The Trevor Project Suicide Prevention Lifeline for LGBTQ youth
• Trans Lifeline's Peer Support Hotline
• Veterans Crisis Line
800-273-8255 press #1
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