DENVER — Colorado has the mountains, the sunshine and the rankings as best and healthiest place to live in the United States. However, in the middle of all that is good is the reality that the state ranks seventh nationally for suicides.
State Sen. Linda Newell said it’s unclear why Colorado ranks so high, but she is determined to fix the numbers. In 2014, Colorado set a record for suicides with nearly 1,100.
“Everyone in our state has been affected by someone who has committed suicide,” Newell said.
Newell has helped passed in the State Senate the Zero Suicide Model, which focuses on better training health professionals to spot the signs. One-third of people who commit suicide see a health professional a month before they die.
Another effort is increasing funding by $100,000 to help established suicide prevention programs across Colorado.
“It’s not a lot of money when you are talking billions in the budget, $100,000 is nothing. However, it can be significant for a two person office of suicide prevention,” Newell said.
One place where that money could go is the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Program based in Westminster. The group has been around since 1994 when Dale Emme lost his son to suicide. The group has chapters around the world.
“If you are ever in pain or know someone that is in pain, reach out, ask for help,” Emme said.
The Zero Suicide Model is being debated in the House. The $100,000 budget amendment is expected to receive final approval this week.