Colorado’s suicide rate consistently tops the national average. In 2011, the state had the ninth highest suicide rate in the nation, according to the latest available Centers for Disease Control data. And it’s going up.
The suicide rate in the state has jumped around 19 percent over the past decade, taking the lives of 1,004 Colorado residents in 2013, the state health department reports.
Starting in June, Colorado’s Medicaid agency will cover a breakthrough hepatitis C drug on a case-by-case basis, while it decides who will qualify for the potentially life-saving drug, and who will not.
In 2010, a man named Troy Geske died at the Colorado Mental Health Institute of Pueblo after being wrestled by staff members onto a bed, where he was restrained with straps and left by himself, face down. He asphyxiated.
Geske’s death resulted in the state’s paying a $775,000 settlement to his family and a ban on the use of prone restraint in state hospitals. The tragedy also accelerated a concerted effort in Colorado to limit the use of seclusion and restraint for people receiving mental-health treatment.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill Friday, June 6 that bans the practice of keeping seriously mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement.
The bill, which passed with strong bipartisan support, won the support of advocates and rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, who say the isolation of prisoners with mental illness violates the constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment and endangers public safety.