Suicide: The most important topic no one wants to talk about

Why is suicide such a hard thing to talk about? If a loved one was contemplating suicide, wouldn’t you want them to have someone to talk with? What if you were that someone?

Suicide is hard to talk about because many of us don’t know what to say or what advice to give. Or perhaps we’re afraid we might say the wrong thing. But what if we knew what to say, what advice to give and what not to say?


It starts with awareness. As a community, we need to be aware that:

  • Suicide is a growing problem that affects everyone.
  • Negative stigmas around suicide and mental health care discourage many people from seeking help.
  • People attempting suicide don’t actually want to die; they just want to escape.

 If we’re not aware of these things, nothing can change. And these things need to change.

 The more we talk about suicide — and how to prevent it — the easier it will be to eliminate the negative stigmas.

Out of the Darkness Walk

The Out of the Darkness Walk has been raising awareness of suicide and prevention resources in our community since 2016. It’s a great way for each of us to shine a light on suicide. This year’s free walk is on Sept. 28 and begins at the steps of the Oregon State Capitol. Besides the walk itself, there will also be a Community Resource Fair and Wall of Hope, as well as other resources to show your support. 

Visit the Out of the Darkness Walk website for more information and to register.

Salem Police car

Salem Health has again partnered with the Salem Police Department to raise awareness by “wrapping” a patrol car. The turquoise and purple wrapped car helps raise suicide awareness through a visual representation of a problem that is often invisible. Seeing the topic of suicide helps reduce some of the stigmas.


If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Never keep someone’s plan for suicide secret. It’s better to repair a relationship than go to a funeral.

Suicide prevention training

The Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training is a 1 to 2-hour suicide prevention program designed to teach anyone the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond. Free QPR training is offered by the Mid-Valley Suicide Prevention Coalition. Learn more and sign up here.

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) training is more intensive and designed for people that might more regularly deal with suicidal individuals. The two-day ASIST training is offered by the Mid-Valley Suicide Prevention Coalition. Learn more and sign up here.

Other resources: