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Suicides in Colorado Reach All-Time High

Colorado consistently ranks well nationally on health-related measures such as obesity and physical activity. But Colorado also is in the top 10 of a list no state wants to win — the highest rate of suicides.   

The latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) show that suicide claimed 1,093 lives in Colorado in 2015 — the most recorded in one year.

To study suicide rates by a number of different factors, including region, gender and method, our data visualization and mapping specialist, Chrissy Esposito, used Tableau to create a dashboard of data.

You can view the dashboard and analysis here.

Here are some high-level findings:

  • The 2015 rate of 19.5 suicide deaths per 100,000 residents is among the state’s highest in recent years, second only to the 2012 rate of 19.7.  
  • The 2015 number is 79 percent higher than in 2000, when 612 people took their lives.
  • Roughly half (49.5 percent) of all suicides are carried out with a firearm.
  • The rates of suicide vary across Colorado.
  • Men in Colorado die by suicide at a rate of 30.5 per 100,000 — nearly four times as high as the female rate of 8.8 per 100,000.

The Office of Suicide Prevention and the Suicide Prevention Commission are among the groups in Colorado working to address this problem by engaging stakeholders, forming partnerships and implementing evidence-based interventions. One example is the Colorado Gun Shop Project, which sends speakers to gun shops across the state to talk to gun owners about safe storage and ways to help someone in crisis.