• Suicides are those deaths caused by intentional, self-inflicted injuries.
  • “The road, which ends in suicide, is usually a very long one.  The process doesn’t happen overnight.  People who are thinking about suicide may be suffering from clinical depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar (manic depression) or schizophrenia.  The illnesses that cause suicide can distort thinking, so people can’t think clearly or rationally. 
“They may think they can’t be helped.  Many have thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness, which may lead to suicidal thoughts.  

“Most people give clear warning signs before attempting suicide.  If depression is recognized and treated, suicidal thoughts can be eliminated.”   (Spokane Regional Health District)
  • Suicide is a public health issue, but not one people are comfortable discussing.  Suicide is a tricky topic for media to tackle as some reporters fear glorifying the act may trigger a copycat suicide or a series of suicides among those with some common factor.  Experts say silence kills.  If suicide is not talked about, people who struggle do not know it is safe to ask for help or that powerful resources are available. 

  • Bullying puts both the victim and the bully at higher risk of suicide.  Someone who has been both the picked-on and the aggressor is at the highest risk.  Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  


911         Emergency

         838-4428      First Call for  Help

1-800-SUICIDE      National HOPE Line   

1-800-273-8255     VA Suicide Hotline 
        (Press #1 to speak to a VA Counselor)

  • The suicide rate in Spokane County in 2013 was 20 per 100,000 population, which was significantly higher than Washington state (15 per 100,000). From 2009 to 2013, suicides significantly increased in Spokane County. The suicide rate was higher among males.  (Spokane Counts 2015 report, Spokane Regional Health District)

  • In Spokane County there were (70) suicides in 2010, up from 62 in 2009. The highest number (55 of 70) of suicides fell within the 20-59 age groups. Six suicides occurred in teenagers, and 7 in the 20-29 age group.  (from the Spokane County Medical Examiner:  
  • Nearly 1 service member commits suicide every day in our nation.  154 soldiers have committed suicide in the first 159 days of 2012 - that is 17% more than the same time in 2011, and more than the total number killed in action in Afghanistan so far this year.  (Pentagon Report, Today Show, June 8, 2012) 

  • In 2010 there were more than 4,500 suicides committed by people between age 10 and 24 in the United States.  (NBC News, Sept. 2011)  
  • Nearly 37,000 Americans died at their own hands in 2009.  It was the #4 cause of death for adults 18 to 65, #6 among those 5 to 14, #3 for those ages e15 to 24, and #2 for those 25-34.  AFSP data says 80-90% of those who killed themselves were not in counseling or treatment programs at the time of their deaths.  (The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - AFSP)

  • Nearly 1 in 7 high school students said they seriously considered suicide in 2010.  (Center for Disease Control and Prevention survey)

  • More than 374,000 people were treated for self-inflicted injuries at emergency rooms nationwide in 2009.  (Center for Disease Control)

  • Nationally, suicide deaths in older Americans are associated statistically with financial concerns, illness and declining health.

  • Peer mentoring programs in schools appear to work.  Education and awareness along are effective, but paired with students who volunteer to be buddies, to listen, to care to prevent both bullying and suicide, success increases.  (Education Northwest, Portland) 

What You Can Do
  • If you are considering ending your life, please talk to someone.  There are people all around you who are willing to help—but you need to speak up.  Talk to someone you trust, and ask for help.
  • If you have no one to talk to, please check the resources below where you can find a person to talk to.  

  • "Suicidal thoughts may worsen when surrounded by people who seem a lot happier than we are.  Here are some tips that might help to even out such disparities:

    • Base your self-esteem on your values and strengths, and worry less about what other people think. 

    • It isn't what happens to us that makes us miserable, it's what we tell ourselves it means about us.  Tell yourself you are strong enough to take a challenge, and you will fell better after a good night's sleep. 

    • Spend some time with others who struggle.  Part of the reason we feel better when we serve others is because we recognize many of our own strengths and good fortune, instead of just seeing how others have it better than we do.   

    • Work  hard to develop your talents; and don't let jealousy cause you to ignore your strengths.  Make some goals based on values that matter to you.  Break them down into smaller steps, and pursue them a little at a time. 

    • Remember that everyone has down times and bad days.  Don't get depressed about being depressed.  See it as temporary and fixable.   (Wendy Ulrich, PhD, MBA, psychologist, author and founder of Sixteen Stones Center for Growth (, most recently co-authored the New York Times bestseller 'The Why of Work.') 
  • Get Help.   If you are thinking about suicide, find an adult you can trust, share what you are feeling, and ask them to help you. Some adults you may be able to turn to for help are:  Family members, teachers, your parent’s friends, a doctor, your friend’s parents, a minister, or school counselor.

  • Contact the Resources listed at the bottom of this page, and ask for help.  

The first step to suicide prevention:

Recognize the Signs

Suicide Warning Signs:

Loss of interest in regular, formerly loved activities
Mood swings, agitation or anxiety
Taking excessive risks
Decreased energy, fatigue
Changes in appetite
Increased drug or alcohol use
Feelings of guilt
Feeling hopeless
Changes in physical appearance
Giving away treasured belongings
Putting affairs in order
Insomnia or increase in sleep
Buying a gun
Obsession with death
Talk of suicide
  • Ask the Question— “Are you thinking about suicide?”  This will show the person that you are concerned about them.  It will not put ideas in their head.  You will open communication lines and allow the person to express their thoughts and feelings.  The important thing to do now is listen.  
  • Get involved with Spokane County’s Suicide Prevention Coalition.  The coalition, lead by the Spokane Regional Health District, is comprised of public and mental health professionals, survivors of suicide, and concerned citizens.  They strive to reach out to the community by creating awareness that suicide is preventable.  The coalition meets bi-monthly and is always open to new members.
  • Schedule training.  All individuals, family members, friends, relatives, colleagues, and acquaintances are in the ideal position to recognize the warning signs of suicide.  By providing a training opportunity, you enhance the response network in our community, in your work place, for your employees and volunteers, and among families and friends.
  • Teachers.  Read “What every teacher should know about preventing youth suicide" from the Washington State Youth Suicide Prevention Program, produced by Washington State Dept. of Health’s Injury Prevention Program.
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Suicide Prevention Programs

Spokane Regional Health District

(printed March 2005)

Aging and Long Term Care
1222 N. Post
Spokane, WA  99201
Contact:  Nick Beamer (509) 458-2509
The mission of Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington is to promote well-being, independence, dignity, and choice for all older persons and for individuals needing long term care in Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Spokane and Whitman Counties.  Case management includes home visits and the care givers report to the agency.

Elder Services
Crisis Intervention services:  838-4428
Elder Services provides information and assistance to older people and case management for frail, isolated, at-risk elders living in the community.  The gatekeeper model is used to locate at-risk elders.  Respite services for caregivers, and volunteer transportation to medical services for the elderly are also provided.  The program focuses on maintaining clients in their own homes, and is a unique blend of mental health and aging services.

Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council (GSSAC)
Prevention Center
1804 E. Sprague
Spokane, WA  99212-2900
Contact:  Dean Wells (509) 922-8383
Resources and training are available on drug and alcohol-related issues.  

QPR Institute Training Program
PO Box 2867
Spokane, WA   99220
Contact:  Kathy White/Paul Quinnett, 536-5100 or 1-800-726-7926, or fax (509) 536-5400
The QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Institute provides suicide prevention training programs to lay and professional audiences, including train-the-trainer programs, distance learning courses, and web-enabled interactive multimedia CD-ROMs.  Courses are approved for continuing education and some courses are approved for college credits.

Rainbow Center
508 W. 2nd Avenue
Spokane, WA   99207
Contact:  Margie Aylsworth, 534-1943, email
Services provided to gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and questioning community.

Reach Out with Hope
Spokane Regional Health District
1101 W. College Avenue, Room 401
Spokane, WA   992901
Contact:  AJ Hutsell at 324,1596  
A suicide awareness program available to junior and senior high school students and adults.  The one-hour presentations teach about the rate of suicide, warning signs, how to help, and community resources.  The program is sponsored by the Spokane Regional Health District and the East Region Emergency Management System (EMS).  

SMILE (Students Mastering Important Life skills Education)
PO Box 30357
Spokane, WA   99223
Contact:  Christy Toribara, 448-8886
An educational program that helps at-risk youth develop positive life skills, giving them the ability to deal with emotional pain and life challenges.  This program is targeted at youth, birth to 25 years-of-age.  It focuses on teaching coping skills to youth before they become at-risk.  Information is distributed through educational materials and an annual conference targeting schools, families and those who work with youth.  

Suicide Prevention Coalition
Spokane Regional Health District
1101 W. College Avenue
Spokane, WA   99201
Contact:  AJ  Hutsell (509) 324-1596

The Suicide Prevention Coalition
This consists of concerned citizens, public and mental health professionals, doctors, pharmacists, psychologists, and survivors of suicide.  Coordinated by the Spokane Regional Health District, the coalition meets quarterly, with task groups that focus on 4 specific areas:  General education on suicide and depression, Professional providers, Workplace, and Senior Citizens.  The coalition welcomes new members.  Call for information about upcoming meetings and events.

Urgent Care Services
Spokane Mental Health
107 S. Division
Spokane, WA   99201
Contact:  Jan Dobbs at 838-4651
Crisis Intervention services:  838-4428 (First Call for Help)
Urgent Care Services include: 
First Call for Help, a crisis hotline, professional triage, crisis respite services, crisis intervention and involuntary treatment services.  On-site and professional triage services are offered Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 pm.  All other services are offered 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.  

Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center
Contact:  Kevin Bratcher or John David  at 434-7262
Crisis Intervention services.   Services include: 
Walk-in services, voluntary in-patient program, emergency room, risk management/CQI team and CDM HP’s.  Providers are trained in Question, Persuade, Refer & Train—for suicide prevention.

YSPP (Youth Suicide Prevention Program
Washington State YSPP
8511 15th Avenue N.E.
Seattle, WA   98115
Contact:  Sue Eastgard, Director (206) 297-5922
Contact:  Corina Lillemon, Eastern Washington Coordinator (509) 489-4741
YSPP was developed in 1995 to address the high incidence of suicidal behavior among our state’s young people. 
The YSPP program has 4 basic components that are available to any community, school or group:

1)  School-Based Programs:  Tool kit training, youth curriculum and technical assistance is available to assist individual schools and school districts with planning and implementation of suicide prevention and intervention efforts.  This service is available at no cost.

2)  Training:  Skilled professionals facilitate all training offered by YSPP.  Costs vary depending on training needs and scope of training offered.

3)  Community Education:  The program supports efforts to raise awareness of the issue of youth suicide in communities across Washington.  These include one-hour presentations, support at community-organized awareness events, printed guidelines, promotion of local and national crisis services, and assistance in developing community task forces that address local concerns about suicide.

4)  Resource materials:  Available in printed or electronic formats.  Printed materials are available through the address above.  Electronic media is available at the website.

...this is the end of the Spokane Reg. Health District’s
list of Suicide Prevention Programs
(printed March 2005)