Suicide in National Parks on the Rise

By: Aaron Luna Email
By: Aaron Luna Email

Last year 33 people chose to take their own lives in National Parks.
An alarming number that's up from the previous year and locally we're seeing the same trend.

Construction crews lifted a car out of Red canyon last year. The driver used the long steep drop to complete suicide. In 2008, 33 people ended their lives in parks like these. According to the national parks service 26 people attempted suicide at the Colorado National Monument last year, two of those attempts were fatal.

Abby Landmeier with the Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation says there's cause for concern. Mesa County's suicide rate is double the national average. "There is a lot of things that we think could be attributed to why people are completing suicide especially in our region," says Landmeier.

Nationally 11 people in every 100,000 complete suicide. Mesa County's rate is around 20 to every 100,000.
Landmeier says, "Half of the total of completed suicides in Mesa County are from the construction industry." That includes the oil and gas industry. Landmeier says, "It's also a stressful work environment it's a lot of manual labor it's a lot of things you really have to pay attention to and be mentally fit for."

Landmeier says the Suicide Foundation recently started to work with Colorado Monument Park Rangers along with other community organizations on how to deal with a suicidal person, hoping to keep those in need safe and on the ground.

Anyone who is considering suicide or has a friend or family member in need can call 1–800–273–talk for more information.


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