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Silt woman raising awareness of local suicide problem

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

A local woman who lost her son to suicide a couple of years ago is working to raise money and awareness of what she says is “a huge problem around here.”

Virginia DuPew of Silt, working with area volunteers and government officials, is trying to raise money for the Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Coalition.

She has placed baskets at five churches around the county, filled with compact discs of Christmas hymns, recorded by a friend of hers, and a note asking for donations of at least $2 to cover the costs of the CD.



The churches, she said, are the First Christian Church and the First Assembly of God, both in Rifle; the New Hope Church in New Castle [which meets at Coal Ridge High School]; the Church of Carbondale, on Snowmass Drive next to the Crystal River Elementary School; and the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Glenwood Springs, on Grand Avenue near Sayre Park.

DuPew said she will check in at the churches regularly, starting today, to refill the CDs when needed and to gather up the donations, until the drive ends on Dec. 19.



“I’ll count the money with the pastors of the church, and anything over the $2 for the producer will go to the coalition,” she told the Post Independent on Friday. The producer of the CDs is Big B Productions, owned by Brian Brown of New Castle.

DuPew said she decided to embark on the fundraising drive now because “it seemed appropriate,” since the Christmas season is the time of year when suicide statistics typically go up.

And, she said, “I picked these five churches because they were the first five pastors that answered the phone.” She said she took that as a sign that, if someone called in need of counseling or help, they are more likely to get a human being than an answering machine at one of these churches.

Suicide rates in Colorado are the sixth highest in the U.S., according to some reports, and the rates have climbed in recent years.

In Garfield County, the suicide rate is below the statewide level, according to a report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, but remains alarmingly high when compared to national data.

One study in 2009 showed that Garfield County was in the top third of 3,000 counties measured across the U.S., comparing suicide rates.

Anyone with questions about DuPew’s crusade can call her at 876-2217, or reach her online at silkisland@msn.com.

jcolson@postindependent.com


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