LITTLETON, Colo. — A community is mourning in Arapahoe County as adults, students and friends and family work to understand the deaths of two students. The two teens, who attended Littleton Public Schools, took their own lives on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"Like you, we are grieving with our students, colleagues, and community," Littleton Public Schools Superintendent Brian Ewert said.
Arapahoe County Sheriff's Deputies confirmed on Thursday the death of a 13-year-old middle school student who took his own life. The victim's name hasn't yet been released.
Just a day prior, police say a 16-year-old high school student also took his own life, although they didn't provide many details.
"It is human nature to feel frustration, anger, and fear and to look for rationale when people in our community are in crisis," Ewert said. "Sometimes simple answers cannot be found."
The recent deaths highlight a growing state concern that some may not yet be aware of, as there have been eight teens who killed themselves in Arapahoe County in 2017 alone.
Just over halfway through the year, that number represents the same number of teens who took their own lives in all of 2015. In 2016, police reported seven teen suicide deaths.
Between 2004 and 2015, the Colorado Department of Public Health (CDPHE) reports 677 children below the age of 20 who took their own lives, but the state-wide data also highlights which counties frequently see these tragedies.
According to the CDPHE data, El Paso County struggles most with youth suicide, reporting 110 deaths in the same time period.
Arapahoe County has the second highest number, reporting 73 deaths in the same span.
While officials like Ewert may not be able to provide answers on why these young people take their lives, they are calling for community action to help prevent future loss of life.
"This is when it is most important for us to continue to partner with one another as parents, community, and schools to find ways to better address the needs of our families," Ewert said.
A plethora of information and resources exists in the state of Colorado for those who are contemplating suicide and each point to the same conclusion: Do not take your own life, there is help available.