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BEND, OR -- This is National Suicide Awareness week, the goal of which is to find new behaviors to work toward preventing suicide. David Visiko, Suicide Prevention Coordinator for Deschutes County, says early recognition of warning signs and intervention can save lives. "How do we create healthy systems for people at risk so, wherever they access in their system of care, that they're getting the appropriate care that's credible and with well-trained people who then can provide them the resources that they need to get help for themselves and then thrive in this lifetime?"
 
Central Oregon is holding events over the next few days to educate, and to support suicide survivors, and Visiko says people need to learn not to be afraid to discuss suicide with those they believe to be in need. "It's not a matter that if someone says the word 'suicide,' they're going to take this idea that's new to them and run. It's that they've already thought about, maybe even a plan, or had the thought come up, so when they're talking about it, they're maybe looking for someone to assist them further to get the resources that they want and need, or to be safe at that time."
 
In addition to prevention training and an education series, there will be a Candlelight Vigil on Wall street Thursday at 7 p.m. and the "Out of the Darkness" community walk is scheduled for 9:30 a.m Saturday, at Pilot Butte State Park. Click HERE for more details on Deschutes County events. 
 
Visiko says one of the goals of this week is to get the topic of suicide out of the taboo realm in order to have an impact on this issue. "We need to get this topic of suicide into the open more and break some of those barriers that keep these kinds of conversations hidden. So, the more openly we can talk about behavioral health, mental health, and suicide, the more we're going to get people the help they deserve within our community resource system."
 
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call to get help. The 24-hour local helpline is 541-322-7500 x9, or the national line with links to Central Oregon is 1-800-273-TALK. Approximately 29 people in Deschutes County die by suicide each year.

 

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