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TELLURIDE, Colo. — Three suicides by firearms in two weeks have caused concern for San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters, who asking the community to help prevent another suicide.

“It’s alarming,” the sheriff said in a statement. “Our rate of suicide by firearms in the past 12 months is now six times higher than the national average.”

Masters is encouraging the community to take what he calls “meaningful steps” to prevent another suicide.

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That could include limiting access to firearms for people who are struggling. The latest suicide victims had little in common besides being white and over age 55 but they all had access to firearms.

“Keep firearms locked, and in some situations, you may need to remove them from immediate access by anyone having difficulties with depression or substance abuse,” Masters said.

The sheriff added the above steps might not necessarily have helped in the recent cases, but he considers them to be sensible measures to take overall.

The sheriff’s office also advises anyone suffering from depression reach out for help saying “suicide is not the answer.”