DENVER - Colorado has one of the highest suicide rates in the country and last year more Coloradans died by suicide than ever before, state health officials said Monday.
In 2012, 1,053 Coloradans killed themselves, representing a rate of 19.7 per 100,000 people. That’s the highest number in Colorado history and a 15.8 % jump from the year before.
The state’s suicide death toll has been climbing for the past decade.While many more men than women die by suicide, the suicide rate also has increased for women and for nearly every age group. Last year, 810 of the state's 1,053 suicides were men. But the suicide death rate for women is on pace with that of men, increasing 18 percent, from 207 deaths in 2011 to 243 in 2012, the state health department said.
Among Coloradans who are between 20 to 64 years old, suicides rates increased 16.7% percent, from 23.4 per 100,000 adults to 27.3 per 100,000 in 2012.
The only age groups to experience a decrease, however slight, were teenagers and older seniors.
The number of suicide deaths for young people aged 15-19 years decreased from 43 to 41 deaths and the number of suicides for seniors 75 years and older decreased from 54 to 53.
"Far too many Coloradans struggle with thoughts of suicide, and far too many die when they are unable to manage debilitating mental, emotional or physical pain," said Jarrod Hindman, manager of the Office of Suicide Prevention at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "But suicide can be prevented. There are resources available for individuals and families in crisis, and many who struggle with suicidal thoughts go on to lead hopeful, happy and productive lives."
The Office of Suicide Prevention leads the state’s suicide prevention and intervention efforts.
Prevention efforts and funding historically have focused on reducing youth suicide rates, with some success. Two new initiatives – ManTherapy and Means Restriction Education – also show promise, the state said.
ManTherapy.org is an online resource using "manspeak" and humor to target men at risk for depression and suicide.
Another Colorado suicide prevention effort focuses on educating Coloradans on the importance of reducing suicidal individuals’ access to lethal means. The Means Restriction Education initiative works with emergency room personnel, families and other care givers to make sure suicidal patients don't have access to firearms, prescription medications and other lethal means of completing suicide.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273- TALK (8255), where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
September is Suicide Prevention Month, and Sept. 10 is International Suicide Prevention Day. To learn more about statewide and local suicide prevention programs and events, visit the Office of Suicide Prevention Website or the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado.