Tragedy Sparks Event for Suicide Prevention

Florence Community PTA organized a Adolescent Wellness and Suicide Prevention Talk at the Florence Events Center on March 18. Katherine Davidson (left) and Diane McCalmont, of the Florence Community PTA were two organizers of the event. Photo by Jean Lee

March 24, 2023 — Last month, the suicide of a local teen rocked the Siuslaw High School community, which prompted the PTA to gather local suicide prevention organizations for an open event.

The meeting, called the Adolescent Wellness and Suicide Prevention Talk, was hosted at the Siuslaw Middle School Commons and broadcast via livestream for those who could not attend.

Katherine Davidson, Secretary of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), coordinated the event with 9 other local organizations including Lane County Public Health and Siuslaw Outreach Services. 

“As adults and parents, it’s hard to identify things that are concerning versus normal adolescent behavior,” said Davidson. “[The biggest takeaway here is] there are resources available… you don’t have to do this alone.”

The event featured keynote speaker Norma Wood with Coastal Counseling. Other resources included Peace Health and Oregon Integrated Health, organizations that both offer therapy and counseling for those suffering with depression or thoughts of suicide.

In addition, Oregon Family Support Network offers a program called Reach Out Oregon for parents with children experiencing any type of behavioral challenges.

“[When you call us], it’s a warmline available all hours of the day that anybody can call,” said Reach Out Oregon at the event. “We’ll tell you what resources you have or maybe you just want to vent or get emotional support. This program is for parents with children going through anything whether it’s trauma or related to a developmental disability.”

Another local resource includes the Mobile Crisis Response Team in Florence.

“We’re always available 24/7 and we help with all sorts of crises, trauma and intervention,” says the program manager.

Many of these organizations coordinate with each other and can offer services that cost little to nothing, removing potential economic barriers.

The recording of this event is viewable online for interested parties at

If you are experiencing an emergency, call 988, the suicide and crisis lifeline or 911.