Southwest Colorado has a higher suicide rate than the rest of the state, which in turn has a higher suicide rate than the rest of the nation. Region 9 Economic Development’s 2016 Southwest Colorado Healthcare Index indicates 21 suicide deaths were reported in the five-county region in 2014 – nine each in La Plata and Montezuma counties, and three in Archuleta County. From 2008 to 2014, the region experienced 149 suicide deaths – 20 in Archuleta County, 71 in La Plata County and 58 in Montezuma County. Statistics for Dolores and San Juan counties were unavailable. Statewide there were 6,664 suicide deaths during those years.
In August, El Pomar Foundation and its Southwest Regional Council convened a regional stakeholder group to begin this discussion. Responding to the recent increase in the number of suicides throughout the region, R. Thayer Tutt, the foundation’s president said that the council is currently exploring ways to support organizations that are effectively providing mental health services to the young people of Southwest Colorado.
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