State commission looks to lower Colorado’s suicide rates

DENVER I Colorado continues to have one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, but a new state commission has begun to tackle the problem.

The Colorado State Legislature created the Suicide Prevention Commission to identify statewide priorities and partnerships in suicide prevention. Commissioners from across Colorado met for the first time Oct. 17. They began developing strategies and identified their first priority: working with Colorado Crisis Support Services to make sure patients admitted to emergency rooms because of suicide attempts receive care and support after discharge.
“We are at a tipping point of change around suicide prevention in Colorado,” said Sally Spencer-Thomas, the CEO and co-founder of the Carson J Spencer Foundation, and a commissioner. “New and needed voices are stepping in to elevate the conversation and make suicide prevention a health and safety priority.”
In 2013, 1,004 Coloradans died by suicide. That’s down from the state’s peak of 1,053 in 2012, but still represents the second-highest number of suicides in Colorado history. State suicide rates have been climbing for more than a decade, and Colorado ranks sixth in the nation for deaths by suicide.
“For too long, suicide has devastated Colorado families,” said Jarrod Hindman, director of the Office of Suicide Prevention at the state health department and co-chair of the commission. “We need to put our best minds to work making sure Coloradans battling depression or contemplating suicide have the resources they need to stay alive.”
To learn more about statewide and local suicide prevention programs and events, as well as resources in your area, visit www.coosp.org. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.