To the editor:
Recent media coverage of suicide statistics in Colorado for 2009 paint a grim picture for our state, with 940 deaths, more than in any previous year.
Suicide is a preventable death, but last year it claimed the lives of more victims than motor vehicle crashes and homicides combined.
Rather than dwelling on this negative data and wondering what we’re doing wrong, we need to take this information and use it to enhance our prevention efforts.
As Coloradans continue to feel pressure from job loss, economic stress, feelings of isolation and more, we need to continue to learn the signs of suicide, learn how to find help for family members and friends in need, and find viable ways to increase access to mental health resources in our state, which ranks at the bottom of the states in hospital beds for those in immediate mental health crises.
It is not enough simply to report the statistics. As a state, we need to ensure that funding for mental health care and suicide prevention stays at the forefront of the policymakers’ minds.
And, we need to ensure that everyone knows how to find care if they need it or help others find the help they need.
Now is not the time to make suicide “someone else’s problem.” Suicide affects everyone. Let’s work together to stop suicide and its impact across Colorado.
Colorado Springs, board chair
Denver, board member
Grand Junction, board member
Montrose, board member
Deborah Van Cott,
Carbondale, board member
Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado