September 28, 2017
From Mandy Davis, LCSW, PhD, Director, Trauma Informed Oregon
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month and so we are using our September newsletter to highlight what Trauma Informed Oregon (TIO) is doing as well as other voices around Oregon. One of TIO’s goals for the next two years is to share resources that connect what we know about suicide with what we know about trauma and trauma informed care. One way we are doing this is by supporting the work of Oregon’s Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Plan developed in 2015. Some tasks we have completed include: adding data and information about suicide to our foundational trainings, adding resources to our website, and, with the help of Oregon Health Authority, developing a TIP sheet Talking about Trauma and Suicide in Public Meetings.
Schools Around Oregon
As K-12 schools around the state prepared to start the academic year several invited us to their district or school to talk about trauma informed care in education. In both rural and urban districts, staff shared the challenges in addressing suicide and the potentially traumatic impacts on a family, school, and community. A few data points for Oregon based on the most recent data from 2015:
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 15-34
- Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death overall in Oregon
- Oregon ranks 13th in the nation in suicide death rates, which is higher than the national average
- County level data can be accessed here
This is a real issue many of you are grappling with and all of us need to understand. As I talked with folks from several schools, I heard how many areas have minimal resources and how you are trying to understand and keep up with the impact of social media. TIO is committed to listening to your experiences and continuing to identify ways to intersect this work while identifying gaps in resources. We welcome your input. What you have found helpful in your prevention or postvention efforts? What might you need?
I am so grateful for those who have contributed to this newsletter by sharing their experiences and providing helpful information. I was reminded while reading Del Quest’s blog how little training providers receive regarding suicide and how much of it is focused on prevention. Prevention is important but it has been pointed out to me that there is a gap in knowledge and skill in postvention. A suicide postvention includes interventions provided after a suicide attempt or completion. This includes supports for family and friends but also for impacted community groups or entities (e.g., school, faith community, a business). I appreciate that Del reminds us to also support providers who worked with the person who completed a suicide. Because these relationships are often confidential, it can feel lonely and even stigmatizing to get support. All the contributors for this newsletter provide unique perspectives and resources and I consider this a start to improving our web-based resources.
Helpful Blog Posts
Check out our latest blog posts to learn more about suicide prevention, postvention, and resources:
What’s Going on at TIO
Lets Connect! TIO is constantly striving to finds efficient ways for you to share and connect with each other about what you are learning about TIC. We will continue to collect your wisdom through the emails you send or through our community meetings but we are excited to launch our Discussion Forum as another option. This is an online way for you to ask questions and share thoughts/ideas/resources. We would love for you to check this out and let us know if it is helpful. Much thanks to Camilla Pettle (TIO) and Brittany Smith (web designer) for getting this ready.
Where We’ve Been
I am always motivated when I get to travel around and hear about what you are doing and needing. It is helpful to see the areas and buildings in which you work. A quick shout out to Vale, Enterprise, Ontario, Baker City, Corvallis, Eugene, and Canby for letting us be in your area in the past few months.
To Do List
- Do you, your organization, your community have a suicide prevention and postvention plan? Suicide protocol?
- Have you checked out the TIO events page for upcoming training and events?
- Go to the Community page on the TIO website and check out the Discussion Forum to connect with others doing the work (resilience = service, connection, mastery, reflection).