Suicide rate rising in Mesa County

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Monday the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released 2012's statistics for suicides in the state.

Among the counties with the highest per-capita rate was Mesa County, which saw 47 deaths by suicide...or 34.46 per 100,000 people.

That crude rate ranks tenth of the 64 counties in the state; Sedgwick's rate of 127.39 per 100,000 people ranks the highest.

Among the startling statistics is the rise in suicides among middle-aged men.

"Primarily men who are most often single, widowed, divorced, or never married," Karen Levad of the Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation said. "They have easy access to firearms. The men in that group tend to have rugged independent attitudes that make it difficult for them to reach out to others for help."

About 80% of the suicides in the state were by men, and that number rings accurate in Mesa County.

Levad said that while it is a delicate subject, the best prevention for suicide is to address needs early and not be afraid to talk about it.

"L - I - N - K, link. (L)isten, (I)nquire, (N)ote level of risk, and (K)now resources. That will get you through a crisis time of someone that you care for."

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