In April 2017, City Club hosted a forum called “Zero Suicide – A Community’s Call to Action.” As National Suicide Prevention Month ends, we revisit this important topic in our community with a true account from City Club Member Lisa Dobey, Executive Director Community and Philanthropy, St. Charles Health System.

Touched by Suicide

Seventeen years ago, my 35-year-old brother-in-law, Stephen Cole, died by suicide. He hung himself in his apartment in San Francisco. I saw the devastating impact this had on our family and his friends. The effects of his suicide continue to ripple through the family over a decade later.

After cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death. However, unlike cancer and heart disease, there is so much fear and stigma associated with suicide that most of us are uncomfortable talking about it.

Still, as hard as it is, the important thing is to talk. Research continually shows that if we’re willing to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations, some suicides can be prevented.


Here in Central Oregon, there are many resources to help people who are having suicidal thoughts and to help friends, family members, and colleagues who are worried about someone. The important thing is to get help!

Perhaps the easiest way to get support is to call or text Lines for Life at 1-800-273-8255. Lines for Life can provide assistance if you’re considering suicide or if you are worried about someone else.

If you are in a crisis and aren’t sure what to do, you can call 9-1-1 or come to a St. Charles emergency room for help.

How You Can Help

If you want to learn basic warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond, both the Deschutes County Health Department and St. Charles Health System offer QPR training – Question, Persuade, and Refer. QPR is a one to two-hour training designed to teach the general public warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond. QPR can be offered in the workplace, at your place of worship, or to a group of friends. To schedule a QPR training call or email below.

In our family, we continue to struggle to balance our memories of Steve – especially his talent as a performer and the potential we saw in him – with his internal view of himself. In his memory and the memory of so many, our goal must be to find ways to support the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of others. Just ask!

Lines for Life for immediate support:
Call 800-273-8255 (24/7/365)
Text 273TALK to 839863 (8am-11pm PST daily)

Call 877-968-8491
Text teen2teen to 839863
Chat at

To schedule a QPR training:
Deschutes Health Department: contact Whitney Schumacher at or (541) 322-7420-6606
St. Charles Health System: contact Carlos Salcedo at or 541-706-5986 (English or Spanish)