Men dying by suicide at staggering rate in Colorado

DENVER - Colorado is facing a crisis: staggering numbers in suicides.

The Department of Public Health and Environment said Monday that the state has set a record with 1,058 people lost to suicide last year. It’s the seventh highest rate in the country, and the seventh leading cause of death for Coloradoans.

7NEWS felt compelled to dig deeper.

Men account for 75 percent of the deaths.

Anchor Eric Kahnert sat down with Sally Spencer-Thomas, who runs a suicide prevention organization called the Carson J. Spencer Foundation.

She cites three reasons behind the statistics:

  • Colorado is at the bottom of the list for funding mental health services.
  • Isolation in rural areas, where it’s difficult to get help.
  • The culture.

“We’re kind of rugged and Westerny. That builds a lot of resilience and character out here in the West but it also puts people at risk when something is wrong with their brain,” Spencer-Thomas said.

To help men cope, her organization, along with other created “man therapy.” It even uses humor to make the discussion less intimidating.

More details about the program can be found here.

To learn more or get involved, visit the health department’s suicide prevention page or the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help and hope are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Colorado Crisis and Support Line at 1-844-493-TALK (8255).  

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