North Dakota Suicide Prevention Coalition Conference

BISMARCK, N.D. - The State Health Department says suicide is the second leading cause of death in North Dakota.

In 2015, suicide took twice as many lives as opioid overdoses.

The North Dakota Suicide Prevention coalition met today with physicians and survivors in Bismarck.

More than 100 people were at the conference discussing how to cope with suicide and how to notice warning signs.

“He was discharged to himself when he had been suicidal," said parent survivor Kora Dockter.

Dockter lost her son Steve to suicide three years ago. Now, she carries his story to help others and wants more facilities to be trained on a program called zero suicide.

"It provides follow up phone calls for people after they're discharged. It will help them keep intact with a professional that can help and assess at a point where family maybe can't do it," said Dockter.

The conference Wednesday also talked about warning signs and how to ask directly about the issue.

"It's very difficult for people to disclose thoughts of suicide without being asked directly. So, we really encourage people to watch for warning signs," said Alison Traynor, North Dakota Department of Health Suicide Prevention Director.

"It's OK to not be OK. And it's OK to ask for help," said Kathryn Eagle-Williams, Elbowoods Memorial Health Center CEO.

Traynor says they want to move forward with action and prevent suicide across North Dakota.

Medical practitioners say if you or someone you know needs help, contact the suicide lifeline at 1-800-273-8255