It’s Suicide Prevention Week |

It’s Suicide Prevention Week

Dear Editor:Sept. 9 to 15 is National Suicide Prevention Week. Some alarming statistics: In 2003 more than 30,000 Americans ages 18 and older killed themselves. That same year saw nearly 350,000 non-fatal hospital emergency room visits by adults ages 18 and older who tried to harm themselves. Research indicates that there are between 8 and 25 attempted suicides for each successful suicide. In the United States suicide is the 11th leading cause of death. More Americans die each year from suicide than from homicide. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among Americans ages 15 to 24 and the second leading cause of death among those ages 25 to 34. Males are four times as likely to kill themselves than females but females attempt suicide three times as often as males. Suicide rates increase with age. The highest risk individuals are unmarried white males age 55 and older. The Rocky Mountain region has the highest suicide rate in the country and suicide is the leading cause of injury death in Colorado. More people die from suicide in our state than from motor vehicle accidents. On average more than 700 Coloradans die by suicide annually and more than 2,500 are hospitalized following an attempt. Ninty percent of suicides in America are associated with a mental illness or a substance abuse disorder. Fifty percent of those who die by suicide were afflicted with Major Depressive Disorder, a treatable condition. The suicide rate of persons with a major depression is eight times greater than the general population.Suicide is a major public health problem but it is preventable. If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, there is help available. In Pitkin County the Aspen Counseling Center crisis service is accessible 24/7 at 920-5555 and in Garfield County contact Colorado West Counseling Services at 945-2583.David CrutchfieldAspen Counseling Center program director