Suicide

CGP Grey, CC BY 2.0

The Mountain West has disproportionately high rates of depressive disorders and suicide. Researchers are trying to find out why. Turns out, the mountains themselves might have something to do with it. 

The Rocky Mountain region continues to face some of the highest suicide rates in the country. A recent panel of experts in Colorado addressed what they said was one of the biggest hurdles to mental health: social stigma. 

The number of people dying by suicide in the U.S. has been rising, and a new study shows that the suicide rate among girls ages 10 to 14 has been increasing faster than it has for boys of the same age.

Boys are still more likely to take their own lives. But the study published Friday in JAMA Network Open finds that girls are steadily narrowing that gap.

A gun show may not be the first place you would expect to talk about suicide prevention — especially in Vernal, Utah, where firearms are deeply embedded in the local culture.  

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

Days after three separate suicides in Parkland, Fla., and Newtown, Conn., left those communities reeling, the Senate did something rare for a GOP-led chamber: It held a hearing on gun control.

The community of Parkland, Fla., is reeling from the news this weekend that two young people took their own lives. On Friday, 19-year-old Sydney Aiello was buried, five days after she killed herself. Aiello was a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year at the time of the mass shooting. A day later, on Saturday, another student took his life. He was a current student, a sophomore whom authorities haven't identified.

Much of the focus by the Veterans Health Administration has been on the growing number of younger veterans who commit suicide. However, statistics show that the suicide rate for elderly veterans is higher than that of non-veterans of the same age.

Robert Neilson was drafted in 1961. He spent two years in the Army just before the Vietnam War. Three years ago, the 76-year-old came into the VA Hospital in San Diego after contemplating suicide.

Leigh Paterson / KUNC

Flanked by sheriffs and gun safety advocates, Democratic lawmakers unveiled an extreme risk protection order bill — a measure aimed at reducing gun violence — at a press conference at the state Capitol on Wednesday.

"We're on the clock right now folks," Rep. Tom Sullivan (D), whose son was killed in the Aurora theater shooting, said. "... If we keep talking about it, people are going to keep dying and this is a simple thing to do to save lives."

Last year the nation was shocked when a 9-year-old Colorado boy took his own life. A recent report says youth suicide is a public health crisis in Colorado and the numbers in the Mountain West as a whole are staggering, with some of the highest rates in the nation. At the same time, there’s a significant shortage of mental health professionals -- at crisis levels in some communities. Often, it’s mental health workers in schools who work on the front lines of this crisis.

The Mountain West has some of the highest teen suicide rates in the country. A new report out of the region looks at what conditions contribute to the high rate of youth suicide. 

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