Newsletter Sign Up

The Pulse Extra is SLV Health’s monthly newsletter that arrives in your email inbox on the first Friday of each month. Stay up to date with news and events at San Luis Valley Health! Your email address will not be shared or sold in any way.

Click Here to Sign-up

September: Suicide Prevention Month

By Laura Burkhardt,  Behavioral Health Provider, San Luis Valley Health

National Suicide Prevention logo

The Statistics

Talking about suicide is the first step to preventing it. So let’s take a minute to shed some light on suicide.  Colorado’s suicide rate is one of the highest in the country. Data from the Colorado health Foundation in 2014 indicates that there are 19.4 suicides for 100,000 residents. That equates 1,058 suicide deaths. 9,600 Coloradans seriously contemplate suicide each year. It is the seventh leading cause of death for all Coloradans and the second leading cause of death for young Coloradans. Suicide kills more Coloradoans each year than homicide, car crashes, diabetes, breast cancer, flue or pneumonia. The study shows that rural residents are more likely to die by suicide than their urban counterparts.

Vulnerable Populations

  • People with mental illness: 478,000 Coloradans are struggling with mental health issues.
  • Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual people: In a 2015 report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly one third (29%) of LGB Youth had attempted suicide at least once in the prior year, compared to 6% of heterosexual youth.
  • Transgender people: According to a 2010 study conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 41% of transgender people in the United Stated have attempted suicide, compared to 1.6% of the general population.
  • Males: While females have a higher rate of suicidal ideation and behavior, men are more likely to die from suicide. Men account for more than 75% of suicide deaths.
  • Veterans: A 2016 study by The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs reports that the Colorado Veteran Suicide Rate is 47.1 compared to the Colorado Suicide rate of 22.5. In 2014 178 Colorado veterans died of suicide.

How To Help

  • Talk about suicide. Ask questions and listen.
  • Suicide Hotlines:
    • U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
    • Colorado Crisis and Support Line (844-493-8255, or text “Talk” to 38255)
    • Safe2Tell (877-542-7233)
    • Trevor Project hotline for suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth (866-488-7386)

Food for thought: "About 50 percent or more of people who die by suicide contact their primary-care physicians in the month before the suicide," says Hirsch, citing a 2002 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry. That number is even higher in rural areas, he says.