After grim high, suicides decline in Mesa County

Coming off Mesa County’s worst year on record for suicide, officials hope things may have turned for the better in 2013.

That’s because Mesa County is seeing a significant decline in suicide this year, with 29 confirmed cases as of Dec. 16, according to Mesa County Coroner’s Office figures.

The totals are well behind the grim pace of 2012, in which 47 Mesa County residents took their own lives, the most since the coroner’s office began tracking the information in 2008.

Mesa County recorded 44 suicides in 2011; 32 in 2010 and 30 in 2009.

Mesa County Coroner Dr. Dean Havlik said years of efforts from several county offices, and recent media attention to the issue, may be “paying off.”

“Maybe some of our citizens in Mesa County have a better understanding that if one of their family or friends has suicidal ideations, they are getting them help and getting them help faster,” Havlik said.

“I think education on the problem is the key.”

The Daily Sentinel in September devoted a four-day series to suicide in Mesa County, highlighting personal accounts of survivors, available community resources and best practices.

Mesa County had Colorado’s fifth-highest per-capita suicide rate in 2012, with one in 2,899 Mesa County residents committing suicide last year, the newspaper reported in September.

Mesa County’s 2012 suicide rate was higher than surrounding Western Slope counties and similar-sized counties such as Weld and Pueblo.

Havlik said the coroner’s office will complete and release a detailed report on 2013 suicides early next year.


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