Because of its population size and suicide rate, which is lower than other counties across the state, Douglas County has been selected for a study conducted by the Colorado Attorney General’s …
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Part four of our ongoing series about mental illness focuses on the issue of suicide and suicide prevention.
Help and hope regarding suicide
Finding the light after tragedy
Schools using sources of strength
It's an OK subject to talk about
"It is going to get better"
A school toolkit for prevention
• In 2016, nearly 45,000 individuals ages 10 and older died by suicide.
• From 1999 to 2016, the suicide rate in the U.S. increased by nearly 30 percent.
• Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S.
• Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and the second-leading cause of death for people ages 15-24.
• More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
• Each day, 18 to 22 veterans die by suicide.
Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Because of its population size and suicide rate, which is lower than other counties across the state, Douglas County has been selected for a study conducted by the Colorado Attorney General’s office, in partnership with the Department of Public Health and Environment.
Three control focus groups in Douglas County will be compared to focus groups in El Paso, one of four counties that historically have the highest suicide rate in the state.
Health Management Associates, a national research and consulting firm with a Denver office, is leading the project.
“There is something going on in recent years and they are not seeing as high of (youth suicide) rates,” Taylor Simmons, a research assistant at the firm, said of Douglas County. “The study is trying to tease out what is happening in Douglas County compared to El Paso.”
The top four counties that tend to experience the highest rates of youth suicides in Colorado are El Paso, Mesa, La Plata and Pueblo. Across all ages, Douglas County’s rate is typically lower than other counties in the state, according to Sarah Brummett, the state’s director of suicide prevention.
The study’s goals are to support communities in developing local solutions to prevent youth suicide and to foster the relationship between local communities and state government efforts, the firm said. The focus groups will help prevention efforts by identifying the needs, gaps, strengths and key partners of each community.
In a 90-minute virtual discussion, Health Management Associates will study two groups of 10 to 12 parents with children in high school and one group of 10 to 12 school staff members. Because of limited resources and time, researchers said they are not including students in the study.
The data will be analyzed by the firm and presented to the Attorney General’s office and Department of Public Health and Environment. Findings are expected to be made public by the end of July.
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