2002 to 2009

Colorado has one of the highest suicide rates of any state in the country. In 2007, more lives were lost to suicide in Colorado (805) than in motor vehicle accidents or from illnesses such as diabetes, pneumonia or breast cancer. The impact of lives lost is a social, emotional and economic burden for our state and its residents, and the loss of lives is preventable.

The report Preventing Suicide in Colorado – Progress Achieved & Goals for the Future, issued jointly by Mental Health America of Colorado and The Colorado Trust, updated both the state's 1998 Suicide Prevention and Intervention Plan to address Colorado's historically high suicide rate, as well as The Trust's 2002 report Suicide in Colorado, which documented the problem of suicide across the state and identified suicide-prevention resources. This report detailed key facts and figures about the suicide rate in Colorado, many of the prevention achievements in the past 10 years, and recommendations to strengthen suicide prevention and awareness efforts into the future.

The Colorado Trust's Preventing Suicide in Colorado initiative further supported the efforts of grantee communities statewide to encourage people at risk of attempting suicide to seek care and to improve the care that at-risk individuals receive. Grantees accomplished a range of successes toward suicide prevention, including gatekeeper trainings in southeastern Colorado, counseling and therapy for minority youth in Jefferson County, direct outreach to local Hispanic communities through Spanish-language brochures and other resources, and cross-cultural training of Hispanic community leaders.

Additionally, The Trust supported the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado to coordinate and mobilize volunteers to increase the overall effectiveness of suicide prevention efforts throughout Colorado. The Trust also supported Mental Health America of Colorado to oversee the Colorado Suicide Prevention and Intervention Plan, the state's most comprehensive approach to suicide prevention, education and awareness.

The Trust's first suicide prevention and treatment effort began in 2000 with support of Colorado LINK, a teen suicide prevention project that served youth in two Denver high schools and at Urban Peak, a shelter for homeless youth. The pilot program incorporated education, screening and treatment to demonstrate the effectiveness of a comprehensive strategy for suicide prevention among diverse youth populations.

An independent evaluation was conducted to determine the effectiveness of the 10 community grantees' gatekeeper trainings. Gatekeeper programs are educational programs designed to help community members recognize those contemplating suicide and refer them to appropriate caregivers. In addition, three of the grantee programs were evaluated in depth as case studies. Evaluation contact: nancy [at] coloradotrust.org (Nancy Baughman Csuti), Director of Research, Evaluation & Strategic Learning, 303-837-1200.

Coordinating Agencies
Through training, problem solving, research and evaluation, The Centers at the University of Colorado Denver work to enhance the capacity of diverse communities and public, private and nonprofit organizations to solve problems and adapt to change. Through education, advocacy, outreach and prevention activities, Mental Health America of Colorado provides resources to Coloradans affected by mental health issues. The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado works to reduce suicide and its impact in Colorado by promoting prevention and intervention activities that address the needs of the state's diverse populations.

Baca, Bent, Clear Creek, Crowley, Delta, Denver, Dolores, El Paso, Gilpin, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Jefferson, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Mesa, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, Otero, Ouray, Phillips, Prowers, Routt, San Miguel, Sedgwick, Teller, Weld and Yuma

GRANT AMOUNT: $4.1 million