Nine people have taken their own lives since May 13 of 2017.

Eleven people committed suicide last year.

Three Azalea Middle School students attempted to kill themselves last year.

The majority of those who think about suicide are veterans, who have the largest representation per capita in the state of Oregon, followed by children aged 10 to 14.

The sobering suicide statistics were presented to Brookings City Council Monday night by anti-bullying advocate Gordon Clay.

The Brookings City Council declared in a resolution that September is Suicide Prevention Month and October Bullying Prevention Month.

Clay has been at the local forefront in addressing the situation here, where suicides and attempted suicides are far above the state average.

He has distributed 15,000 RUOK lapel buttons, designed to let those considering taking their own lives know that someone who cares — the person wearing the pin — is available to help.

He’s spread the word about the 741741 program in the schools; 741741 is a number people can text to reach a counselor — and texting is a form of communication youth prefer.

Clay has also installed signs in bathroom stalls or over urinals reminding people that help is available.

He also plans to host a suicide prevention symposium from 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 30, at the Chetco Community Public Library in Brookings.

“We need to figure out how to change this, particularly with veterans and 10- to 14-year-olds,” he said. “Often a simple conversation may save a life.”

Bullying, whether emotional, sexual, physical or verbal, is the most common form of violence, and can lead people to low feelings of self-worth or even suicidal thoughts, Clay said.

One-half of sixth- and eighth graders polled here in a statewide study in 2016, and 39 percent of 11th graders had been bullied at some point in the previous 12 months. And between 74 and 89 percent of sixth-, eighth- and 11th graders had witnessed bullying.

17968059