Suicides in Colorado: 2017 Trends

This interactive dashboard displays Colorado’s ongoing struggle with one of the nation’s highest suicide rates. Trends are displayed by gender, region and method.
March 10, 2023

Resources and More Information

Suicides can be prevented, and many people who think about or attempt suicide go on to thrive. Identifying which groups and regions have higher rates of suicide can help point to areas in need of support.

If you are in crisis, call the Colorado Crisis & Support Line at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) to connect with a trained counselor in your area.

Or reach the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential. 

For more information on what's happening to prevent suicides in Colorado, see:

For more detail on suicides in Colorado, including substance use and suicide and trends among first responders, LGBTQ-identified Coloradans, construction workers, veterans and adolescents, visit CDPHE’s vital statistics department and check out its data dashboard.

Click here for CHI's previous work on suicide data from 2015. 

Suicide Rate in Colorado Levels Off

In 2017, Colorado recorded 1,175 deaths due to suicide – the highest number in the state’s history. In recent decades, there has been an upward trend in the rate of death due to suicide: In 2017, Colorado lost 20.2 people per 100,000 residents to suicide, up from 14.1 per 100,000 in 2000. However, the rate of death due to suicide did not change significantly from 2016 to 2017, indicating that it might be leveling off.

In 2017, almost 900 of those who died by suicide – more than three quarters – were men. Most were working-aged adults, particularly those between the ages of 25 and 44. Men of all ages have had a consistently higher rate of death due to suicide than women. In 2017, the rate for men (32 deaths per 100,000 residents) was more than three times that of women (9.9 deaths per 100,000). That lines up with national and historical trends.

There have been multiple prevention efforts at the state and local level to reduce deaths due to suicide in Colorado. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Office of Suicide Prevention has implemented multiple evidence-based practices and programs to help increase public awareness, train providers, schools and community members, and increase prevention outreach. 

Sources: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Vital Statistics ProgramNational Institute of Mental Health, CDPHE Office of Suicide Prevention

Southwest, Central Mountains Have Highest Rates

The southwest corner of Colorado and the state’s central mountains had higher rates of suicide than other parts of the state in 2017. Though the state rate has leveled off in 2017, counties in the eastern plains saw an increase in the rate of deaths due to suicide.

Source:  Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment  CDPHE) Vital Statistics Program

Guns Figure Prominently in Colorado Suicide Deaths

In Colorado, one of every two suicides (50.2 percent) involved a firearm in 2017. They are particularly common among men compared to women. About 55 percent of male suicides involved a firearm, compared to about 30 percent of female suicides.

Suicide by gun is also more common in Colorado than in the country as a whole: In 2015, the most recent year for which national data is publicly available, there were 6.9 suicide deaths involving firearms per 100,000 people. In Colorado, there were 10.5 per 100,000 in 2017.

Sources: CDPHE Vital StatisticsCenters for Disease Control

 A Bigger Problem in Colorado Than Most Other States as of 2016

In 2016, deaths due to suicide were more common in Colorado than in most other states. National data for 2017 is not yet available.

About 13 people of every 100,000 in the United States died due to suicide in 2016. That same year, Colorado lost more than 20 people per 100,000 residents.

In 2016, suicide was Colorado’s seventh leading cause of death. Nationwide, it’s the 10th leading cause of death.

Colorado is part of a cluster of mountainous western states with high rates of suicide deaths. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranked Colorado ninth in the country for suicide rates.

Sources: National Institute of Mental HealthCenters for Disease Control

Page Updated September 2018