‘Signs of Hope’ campaign in Cave Junction

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Sept. 10 was World Suicide Prevention Day.
Angela Franklin is the suicide prevention coordinator and behavioral health specialist for older adults and adults living with physical disabilities. She works for Options for Southern Oregon and covers Josephine County.
On Sept. 9, various organizations participated in the Josephine County Suicide Prevention Coalition’s “Signs of Hope” campaign, in both Grants Pass and Cave Junction. Illinois Valley High School and Oregon Caves Chevron welcomed and hosted the signs.
“Hopelessness can be a big part of suicide and this campaign puts out words of love, encouragement and compassion, as a way of letting people know ‘You are not alone’; ‘You are worthy of love’; ‘Your mistakes don’t define you’; and many others. We included signs in Spanish, as well. The coalition is looking forward to increasing the number of organizations, businesses, and community members that participate in the campaign for 2023,” said Franklin.
There are three steps anyone can take to help prevent suicide. “I provide QPR training free to the community to learn to recognize the warning signs, how to intervene and where to refer to someone who is in crisis.”
She also explained that in Oregon, suicide is the second leading cause of death for those 10-44 years of age. The highest risk group for suicide is males 75 years and older. Suicide happens across the lifespan and Oregon is one of the leading states in the nation for suicide prevention and for developing legislation and collaboration in responding to suicide deaths and supporting those who lose loved ones to suicide.
How can you help? “Learn the warning signs, how to intervene, and where someone can find help,” said Franklin. “You can also get involved in our local Suicide Prevention Coalition, participate in events or if you have lived experience and would like to be trained as a support group facilitator, please email me (afranklin@optionsonline.org) for details.”
Other important news is that the new national suicide prevention and crisis line is 988, available for both calls and texts. Similar to 911, this new three-digit number will connect people directly to regional and local mental health crisis counselors. This is for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress; whether thoughts of suicide, mental health, substance use crisis or any other emotional distress. The existing local mental health crisis number (541-476-2373) is also available to those in need of crisis support, so either number will get you the support needed.
What are some resources or places people can turn to for help?
Options for Southern Oregon has an office in Cave Junction at 319 Caves Highway, open Mondays and Wednesdays 8:30 a.m. -5:30 p.m. The support staff can assist with assessment and intake paper work and answer questions to the many different services provided.
“We have many organizations in the Illinois Valley that offer support for various situations, such as: OnTrack, Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance, I.V. Living Solutions, Illinois Valley Wellness Resources, various churches and Healthy U, to just name a few,” explained Franklin. “Our valley is full of compassionate people ready to help. The stigma and silence surrounding suicide hinders our ability to provide support. When we can raise awareness, we create opportunities to promote healing and find the appropriate response to not only those affected by a suicide death, but also to those with thoughts of suicide.”
Franklin wants people to be aware that they are not alone. “There are resources for those with thoughts of suicide and those who have been affected by a death by suicide. You can be a resource for someone who might be struggling.”