Senior Citizens’ Advisory Committee: Saving Lives

By Jo Anne Baumann16 life preserver

Every day on average, two Oregonians commit suicide and nationally, someone gives up the fight nearly every 12 minutes. This article is to educate people on knowing who is at risk, the warning signs of someone in crisis and how you can help save a life.

Who’s to say what it is that will break each of us…financial and legal troubles, divorce, job loss, depression, substance abuse, and having a family history of suicide are at the top of the list.

Andy Carmill, a Senior Program Educator from Washington County Addiction Services spoke to members of the Senior Citizen Advisory Committee recently about suicide. It was surprising to learn that suicide rates are highest among males aged 65 and over. Studies show it’s because seniors are more isolated and less likely to be rescued.


  • Talking about killing oneself
  • Means of killing themselves
  • Acting reckless
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Saying goodbye in an ambiguous way
  • Changes in eating, sleeping and grooming habits
  • Feeling a burden to others
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Giving away treasured items
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • No sense of Purpose
  • Mental illness

What should you do if you suspect someone might be at risk? Ask if they are thinking of hurting or killing themselves. Contrary to what many people fear, asking someone directly will not give them the idea to kill themselves. Remove weapons, pills, or other possible lethal means and call for help. Most people desperately want to live, they just are unable to see a solution.


  • Washington County Crisis Line 503-291-9111
  • Call 911 for persons in immediate danger
  • National Suicide Prevention LifeLine 1-800-273-8255
  • If you are interested in getting more training, go to
  • visit American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at

Together there is hope.

If you are interested in serving as a volunteer member of the Senior Citizen’s Advisory Committee, please email Jim Brooks,