In 2018, 129 Oregonians age 24 and younger died by suicide, making it the leading cause of youth deaths in the state, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Suicide continues to be a concerning problem in Oregon across all age groups, including youth, as this new data confirms," Dana Hargunani, Oregon Health Authority’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. "We continue to prioritize work across Oregon to support young people in schools, at home and in our communities.”
With this new data, released in a report to the state legislature this week, Oregon is now ranked 11th highest in the nation for youth suicide rates. Previously, the leading causes of death for young Oregonians were unintentional injuries and drug overdoses.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown included more than $6 million for suicide prevention in her 2019-2021 biennium budget.
This is the first time this work has been funded by the state, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
That money is being used to fund measures including Oregon’s Suicide Prevention Lifeline, creating statewide access to suicide prevention programming and addressing higher risk groups such as LGBTQ youth and veterans.