Salem Health helps lead the conversation about suicide

Everyday people – you, your family, neighbors and friends – play a vital role in promoting the well-being of your community. But how do you start a difficult conversation about depression, mental illness or suicide?

It can be uncomfortable, but could help prevent some situations from escalating and resulting in hospitalization or even death. Salem Health is taking steps to increase suicide awareness and help the community get the tools it needs to prevent suicide.


Salem Health sponsored a newly “wrapped” Salem Police patrol car to raise awareness for National Suicide Prevention Month back in September. The turquoise and purple car provides a visual representation of a problem that is often invisible. Seeing the topic of suicide more frequently helps reduce some of the stigma.

Salem Police car sponsored by Salem Health to promote suicide prevention

Salem Health is also a proud sponsor of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Walk in Salem. This event will take place on Oct. 14 at Riverfront Park.

Suicide doesn’t discriminate based on wealth, success, intelligence, personality, race, ethnicity, gender or religion. Even many working in health care have been affected by suicide. Staff members will walk together to show the community that these issues are nothing to hide. Bringing depression and suicidal thoughts into the light is the first step towards healing and change.


Salem Health gave a $50,000 Community Partnership Grant to the Mid-Valley Suicide Prevention Coalition to train more than 1,000 people in Polk County to recognize and help those at risk of suicide. Two types of training are available: QPR (question, persuade, refer) training is open to anyone. ASIST (applied suicide intervention skills training) is for those more likely to interact with suicidal individuals and who may want to help lead training for others.

The Salem Health CHEC recently added the QPR training to its class repertoire. Classes are open to staff and the public.


If you feel that someone is in immediate danger, call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency room. Never keep a plan for suicide secret. It’s better to need to repair a relationship than go to a funeral. Other resources include: