2012 worst for suicides in county


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is staffed 24 hours a day, can be reached at (800) 273-TALK.

In Mesa County, 2012 was the worst year on record for completion of suicide with 47 deaths, eclipsing the previous year’s grim record.

Chief Deputy Coroner Kim Hollingshead said Mesa County, which has measurable data for suicides dating to 2007, experienced its third consecutive year-to-date increase in the deaths. The county recorded 44 suicides in 2011, 32 in 2010 and 30 in 2009, according to the coroner’s annual reports.

Other hard data from 2012 wasn’t available, but Hollingshead said surviving family members increasingly over 2012 said their deceased loved one verbalized or otherwise expressed interest in suicide before completing it.

“Whether they didn’t believe him or her, or whether they just didn’t know what to do, they took no action,” Hollingshead said. “My gut feeling is they didn’t know what to do with the information.”

The majority of 2012 suicides involved individuals with previously known mental-health issues and many had some level of treatment with Colorado West Mental Health, according to Hollingshead. Most were also under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of death, he said.

“People are receiving some type of mental-health care that doesn’t seem to be as effective as we’d like,” Hollingshead added.

Notes left behind are a rarity, he said.

“I sensed a slight uptick in people having financial difficulties and taking their lives as a result,” Hollingshead said.

Demographics were expected to be similar to Mesa County’s suicides in 2011, he said.

According to the coroner’s annual report for 2011, 33 men and 11 women in Mesa County took their own lives; ages ranged from 14 to 75.

Gunshot wounds were the most common. One person was struck while in a vehicle by a train, while another drove off Colorado National Monument.

As of Friday morning, the coroner was already investigating two suicides since New Year’s Day, Hollingshead said.


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