Access to suicide prevention |

Access to suicide prevention

Kay Vasilakis

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Coloradans ages 10 to 34, after unintentional injuries. In 2002, Colorado had the eighth highest suicide rate of any state in the nation.High-risk groups are young females aged 15 to 24, having the highest rates of suicide attempts. Older adults (aged 85 and older) have the highest rates of suicide death.The cost to Colorado due to suicide is estimated at $59 million in direct health care costs, and $571.3 million in indirect costs (2000).The Garfield County Suicide Prevention Coalition was started as a collaboration between Public Health and Colorado West Mental Health in January 2006 to address mental health concerns such as depression, substance abuse and suicide, identify community resources and promote prevention activities through public education. Stakeholders include law enforcement, hospitals, schools, judicial departments and the general public.The coalition is open to the public and meets from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month, usually at the Board of County Commissioners room in the County Administration Building, located at 108 Eighth St. in Glenwood Springs.The next Garfield County Suicide Prevention Coalition meeting is a town hall meeting at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 1 in the Glenwood Springs City Council chambers. Speakers attending the meeting will be Barbara Gierzak and Jarrod Hindman from the state office of Suicide Prevention of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. A discussion of related topics will include a profile of suicides in Colorado, risk and protective factors, and the direction of suicide prevention in Colorado. The session will end with a question-and-answer period. All interested citizens may attend; no RSVP is needed to attend the meeting. Training for the speakers bureau on suicide, to be held after the town hall meeting at the same place and the same date, can be made by reservation.For more information, call Sandra Barnett or Laurel Little at 945-6614.Kay Vasilakis’ column, “Nonprofit Spotlight,” appears every other Wednesday. Kay is the media coordinator of the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her, call 384-9118 or e-mail

• Began: January of 2006• Purpose: To address mental health concerns and prevent suicide in Garfield County•Contact: Sandra Barnett or Laurel Little at 945-6614

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