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Suicide | Know the Warning Signs, Get Help.
  • 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 the most preventable cause of death.

    Suicide takes the lives of more than one person each week in Spokane County. Although suicide is often discussed in terms of youth and young adults, rates of suicide are also high among middle age and older adults.


    Signs needing immediate attention:

  • Threatening to or talking about hurting or killing themselves
  • Seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means of suicide
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary

    Additional warning signs:
  • Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
  • No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
  • Anxiety and Agitation
  • Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and society
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Sleep problems- sleeping too much or too little. Any drastic change in usual sleep habits
  • Change in personal appearance, diminishing hygiene
  • Giving away personal items and prized possessions
  • Recent trauma or major crisis

  • What to do if a friend or family member displays the warning signs:

  • Take it seriously.
  • Ask the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” This will show the person that you are concerned about them. You will open communication and allow the person to express their thoughts freely.
  • Listen intently to their reasons for wanting to die and listen for reasons that they have to live (you may have to help them recognize these).
  • Persuade them to seek help from a qualified professional or call 1-800-273- TALK (8255) for help.
  • If he or she has expressed an immediate plan, or has access to a gun or other potentially deadly means, do not leave him or her alone. Get help immediately (emergency contacts are on the back).


    Clinical depression can be treated successfully
    in at least 80% of all cases. Self-management is key to overcoming depression. Doctors can help to recognize it, but patients have to be educated and understand depression and have support to change behaviors.  

    There is support for suicide prevention and people who have lost a loved one to suicide in Spokane County. Help is immediate for all situations. Please call any of these agencies if you or someone you know needs hep or is considering suicide.

    (Spokane County Suicide Prevention Resources, revised October 2012, prepared by the Spokane County Suicide Prevention Coalition, Spokane Regional Health District, http://www.srhd.org;   The Spokane County Suicide Prevention Coalition meets quarterly at the SRHD, and these meetings are open to the public.  Call (509) 324-1530 for more information)

    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)

  • Continued support is necessary for anyone considering suicide before, during, and after treatment. You should stay in close contact with them and drop by to visit periodically. Slowly, you can encourage positive life changes such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy, getting fresh air, and trying to get some exercise. Be mindful that warning signs may reappear, so don’t let your guard down thinking that all is well simply because they’ve overcome a depressive episode in the past.

  • 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.

  • Suicide takes the lives of more than one person each week in Spokane County, according to the Spokane Regional Health District.

    Spokane Schools:
    2016-2017 - 
    3 suicides
    2015 -2016 -
    5 suicides 
    2014 -2015 - 5 suicides

    Spokane County:
    2016   91 suicides
    2015   98 suicides

    (Sources: Spokane County Medical Examiner April 2015; "Spokane schools confronting rise in teen suicides," by Caiti Currey, KXLY TV, April 29, 2015; "Recent teen deaths spark suicide prevention conversation,” by Grace Ditzier,  KXLY TV, April 20, 2017; "Forum Tackles Youth Suicide," by Eli Francovich, The Spokesman Review, June 11, 2017)

  • Suicide took the lives of 1,111 people in Washington in 2014 - including 233 veterans.  Death by firearms was 544, suffocation was 258, poisoning was 207, jump and cut was 57, and other means was 45.  In Washington, nearly 80% of gun deaths are suicides.  The majority of youth suicides involve a family-owned firearm.  (Source:  "Shared Goal:  Save Lives," by Becky Kramer, The Spokesman-Review, March 12, 2016)

  • 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:  https://www.spokanecounty.org/3003/Annual-Reports  
  • 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 (sixteenstones.net), 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.

  • 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.a

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


Call First Call for Help at (509) 838-4428
or walk into any hospital emergency room
or call 911

First Call for Help (24 hour crisis line)
(509) 838-4428 | toll-free (877) 678-4428 TDD 624-0004

Crisis Response Services

Frontier Behavioral Health
South 107 Division
Spokane, WA 99202
(509) 838-4651
Emergency services are available and accessible to all Spokane County residents, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 365 days a year regardless of age, culture, mental health coverage and without need for pre-authorization based on medical necessity criteria.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
(800) 273-TALK (8255)
(Includes services for veterans/military)

Hospital Emergency Rooms - Walk-In

Emergency medical care for anyone in a crisis is available by walking into any emergency room. Sacred Heart provides acute mental health inpatient stabilization and supervision in a modified environment, risk evaluation and treatment recommendations.

Deaconess Medical Center
800 West Fifth Avenue
(509) 458-7100

Providence Holy Family

5633 N. Lidgerwood
(509) 482-2460

Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital

101 West Eighth Ave.
(509) 474-3344

Valley Hospital and Medical Center
12606 E. Mission
(509) 473-5466

VA Medical Center
4815 N. Assembly
(509) 434-7000


Elder Services
Crisis Intervention services: 
5125 N. Market
Spokane, WA  99217
(509) 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.

Frontier Behavioral Health - Family Service Spokane
(509) 838-4128
7 South Howard - Suite 321, Spokane, WA 99201
151 South Washington, Spokane, WA 99201
112 North University - Suite 100, Spokane Valley, WA 99206
Counselors are trained in suicide prevention. Ongoing mental health counseling for families, groups, individuals, and marriages is offered. Open to all ages. All insurances and some medical coupons accepted. Clients need to have insurance and medical coupons available when scheduling appointment. Call to make an appointment, no walk-ins.

Frontier Behavioral Health - Spokane Mental Health

(509) 838-4651
107 South Division
Spokane, WA 99202
Outpatient mental health and psychiatric services are available to all ages. A comprehensive intake assessment for new clients is provided, which includes a suicide risk assessment. Suicide risk is assessed on an ongoing basis and services are provided as appropriate. Follow-up services are provided. Walk in or call to schedule an appointment.

Inland Psychiatry & Psychology
(509) 458-5889
906 West Second Ave., Suite 600
Spokane, WA 99201
A collaborative practice of psychiatrists and therapists who are highly trained to help with life's challenges. We work with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Staff is highly skilled and trained in the latest treatment methods.

Lutheran Community Service
Sexual assault, domestic violence and trauma counseling:
(509) 747-8224
Sexual assault/crime victim advocacy 24 hour crisis line: 624-7273
210 West Sprague Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201
Certified sexual assault center. Support groups, therapy groups, and individual counseling. Accepts many private insurances, medicaid funded (title 19), grants for survivors or sexual assault with no ability to pay, and crime victims’ compensation program (WA State). Call for more information. Frontier Behavioral Health - Spokane Mental Health (509) 838-4651 107 South Division, Spokane, WA 99202 Outpatient mental health and psychiatric services are available to all ages. A comprehensive intake assessment for new clients is provided, which includes a suicide risk assessment. Suicide risk is assessed on an ongoing basis and services are provided as appropriate. Follow-up services are provided. Walk in or call to schedule an appointment.

Debi Price M.S., LMHC

(509) 744-0778, Ext. #5
905 West Riverside Ave. - Suite 501
Spokane, WA 99201
Crisis care and grief/bereavement in a compassionate environment and EMDR therapy are offered. Appointments are available within 48 hours if needed. Sliding scale if need is determined; preferred provider for major insurances.

Survivor Support Services
Rich Paulsen, B.S., M.B.A, M.Ed.
509) 484-4021
9507 North Division St.- Suite G
Holland Building
Spokane, WA 99218
Affordable mental health and crisis counseling is available for co-dependency, depression, co-addiction, trauma, pornography, communication, emotional abuse, adults with childhood abuse, relationships, marriage, premarital, and Christian guidance for individuals, couples, and families. Open to all ages. Appointments are available within 72 hours. Follow-up services are provided for crisis services as required. Hourly fee–$65.

Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center
Contact:  Kevin Bratcher or John David 
(509) 434-7288
4815 N. Asembly
Spokane, WA  99205
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.  Walk-ins are welcome. 

Age of consent for mental health treatment in Washington State is age 13. This means that youth 13 and older have the right to make their own medical decisions and can request or refuse treatment.


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 SENIORS 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.

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. 

Hospice of Spokane
509) 456-0438
121 South Arthur St.
Spokane, WA 99201
Grief counseling and support services available to any Spokane County resident who has lost a loved one, whether or not the loved one was a client of hospice. Counseling services available Monday–Friday, 8am–5pm. Call to schedule an appointment; group walk-ins welcome.

Odyssey Youth Center
(509) 325-3637
1121 South Perry St.
Spokane, WA 99202
We work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth to provide a safe place, education, and advocacy – promoting positive growth and self-empowerment.

Survivors of a Loved One’s Suicide • Hospice of Spokane
Sheryl Shepard – (509) 456-0438
121 South Arthur St.
Spokane, WA 99201
A support group for anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide. We meet on Tuesdays from 5:30–6:30 p.m.; call ahead for info.


Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)

AJ Sanders – (509) 324-1596
A two-day, skills-based training program that teaches suicide assessment and intervention skills. ASIST is appropriate for everyone, from concerned citizen to mental health practitioners. Skills and principles are illustrated in case studies presented in DVD and live drama. Participants have multiple opportunities to practice skills in role-play simulations and to engage in discussions with other participants and workshop trainers

QPR Institute Training Program
PO Box 2867
Spokane, WA   99220
Contact:  Kathy White/Paul Quinnett, (509) 536-5100 or 1-800-726-7926, or fax (509) 536-5400
The QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Institute offers education in suicide prevention, gatekeeper training, and suicide risk assessment and management. Programs are offered in both traditional classroom settings and are now ALL available online. Courses are approved for continuing education and some courses are approved for college credits. 
Limited time partnership with SRHD to provide discounted training; for information: AJ Sanders (509) 324-1596 | asanders@spokanecounty.org

safeTALK Sabrina Votara
(509) 475-7334
safeTALK is a 3-hour training that prepares anyone over the age of 15 to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources.

SMILE (Students Mastering Important Life skills Education)
PO Box 30357
Spokane, WA   99223
Contact:  Christy Toribara, (509) 448-8886
We help at-risk youth (ages 0-25) develop positive life skills and the ability to deal with emotional pain and life challenges. We focus on teaching coping skills to youth before they become at-risk.

YSPP (Youth Suicide Prevention Program), Washington State YSPP
(509) 475-7334
YSPP offers youth-focused suicide prevention education and training to community members and organizations. We also offer free school-based peer education programs and assistance with developing and implementing suicide prevention and intervention programs and crisis response plans.

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. http://www.yspp.org/  

...this is the end of the Spokane Reg. Health District’s
list of Suicide Prevention Programs

(printed October 2012)