VIDEOS: Suicide in Colorado: Reversing Silence and Stigma

Posted by Marybel Gonzalez on Dec 12, 2016 at 5:00 am

This article has been re-shared from it’s original source,


Madison Legg was about to fall asleep on the night of Nov. 2, 2014, when she heard a loud knock at the door. The Colorado Springs teenager saw two police officers enter her home.

The police were responding to a graphic photograph of a young man visibly injured that was posted on Facebook along with a suicide note. The person in the photo was Jacob, Madison’s brother.

Jacob survived his attempt, but the tragic incident points to an increasing pattern affecting Colorado. In 2014, Colorado had the fifth highest suicide rate in the nation, at 20.2 deaths per 100,000 residents, according to the most recent data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Colorado’s rate is one and a half times the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000. Last year, there were 1,093 deaths by suicide in the state, a significant increase from 909 suicide deaths in 2011.

Among Colorado’s youth — ages 10 to 24 — suicide is the second leading cause of death. About one in seven kids say they have made a suicide plan in the last year. Gay and lesbian young people are almost three times more likely to have a suicide plan than heterosexual youth. And more than half of the state’s transgender youth say they have had a suicide plan in the past year.

“It’s not these gender identities or sexual orientation that is causing negative mental health outcomes,” says Sarah Brummett, director of the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention. “It’s the bias and the stigma and discrimination that individuals face on a daily basis. Having safe spaces where you feel included and respected, that is what protects our youth.”

Suicide rates vary by where people live in Colorado. Rural counties had a higher suicide rate compared to their urban counterparts.