Suicide awareness in Garfield County
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help and hope is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at:
• Aspen Hope Center 970-925-5858
• Mind Springs Health 1-888-207-4004
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
September “We Can Talk” Suicide Awareness Classes are scheduled for the following locations.
• 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, New Castle Branch Library
• 6-7 p.m., Wednesday Sept. 16, Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs
• 5:30-6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 22, Basalt Regional Library
• Noon-1 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 24, Aspen Valley Hospital
• 6-7 p.m., Tuesday Sept. 29, Parachute Branch Library
If your business or community group would like to schedule a private suicide prevention training please call the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Garfield County at 970-945-6614, extension 2011.
Suicide takes the lives of more Coloradans each year than homicide, car crashes, diabetes, breast cancer, flu or pneumonia. It is the seventh leading cause of death in Colorado and the second leading cause of death among young Coloradans.
In 2014, Colorado lost 1,058 people to suicide, the highest on record in state history. This puts Colorado’s suicide rate at 19.4 per 100,000 residents — seventh highest in the nation. These numbers underestimate the severity of the problem. Each year, many Coloradans are treated in emergency departments for self-inflicted injuries. In addition, many more people struggle with thoughts of suicide.
The risk for suicidal behavior is complex. Anyone can be at risk for suicide, but some are at higher risk than others. Suicide is highest among men. More than 75 percent of suicide deaths in Colorado are males. Teen suicides have also increased to 64 in 2014 compared with 59 in 2013.
The number of Garfield County residents who died by suicide has also increased. According to available data, 18 Garfield County residents died by suicide in 2014. This is the highest number of suicide in the last 14 years and puts Garfield County’s suicide rate at 30.8 per 100,000 residents.
Suicide was the fourth leading cause of death in Garfield County last year.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Office of Suicide Prevention is also working on implementing evidence-based strategies that include its Man Therapy Program — http://www.mantherapy.org — which uses humor to cut through stigma and tackle issues such as depression, divorce and anxiety.
Providing mental health services to people who are already experiencing or showing signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior is critical. However, reducing suicide in Garfield County will require approaches that go beyond mental health issues to address stigma and fostering community and societal change.
The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Garfield County is a community-led collaborative effort of individuals and organizations and has been working to raise awareness and reduce the rate of suicide in the county. To help raise awareness, the coalition has partnered with the Aspen Hope Center to bring Aspen Hope Center’s “We Can Talk” Suicide Awareness Class to communities throughout Garfield County.
To learn more or get involved with the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Garfield County, please visit http://www.suicidepreventiongarfieldcounty.org.
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UPDATE: Garfield County authorities have identified the woman whose body was found north of Rifle near Colorado Highway 13 last week as Sunny Morrisette, age 38, of Rifle.