2:22pm

Thu May 19, 2011
Health

Addressing Suicide Awareness in Colorado

Mental and public health professionals and others concerned with high rates of suicide in Colorado will gather tomorrow for a day-long summit at CSU in Fort Collins.

“One of the major goals is to bring the people working in suicide prevention and intervention and mental and public health together to network, to learn and to gain new information,” says Jarrod Hindman, Program Director for Colorado’s Office of Suicide Prevention.  “They can take that back to their communities and improve and advance their suicide prevention efforts.  And conferences are motivating... so that’s part of it as well.”

In 2009 Colorado experienced its highest suicide rate in more than 20 years.  Although it’s considered a highly personal act, suicide is regarded as a public health issue by state health officials – especially in areas that are rural or isolated.  Colorado currently has the sixth-highest rate of suicide in the nation. 

“When you look at a map of the US, all of the top ten states are in the Rocky Mountain West region,” Hindman says. “So part of it’s a function of where we live; but it certainly is a public health issue that the state and people who work in this field recognize.  And they work hard to raise awareness about the importance of suicide as a public health issue, and also try to improve our efforts at providing better prevention.”

This is the fourth year for the annual ‘Bridging the Divide: Suicide Awareness and Prevention Summit.’  Although registration for the conference is closed, Hindman says a session from three to five is free and open to anyone who wants to attend.  The session features a keynote speech by the founder of the nonprofit movement To Write Love on Her Arms.  The conference takes place Friday, May 20 at Colorado State University’s Lory Student Center.