Most suicide victims in Mesa County are men; majority killed by self-inflicted gunshot wounds with little warning

Most of the victims had never attempted suicide before, and many were intoxicated at the time
Mesa County Public Health
Mesa County Public Health(Mesa County Public Health | Mesa County Public Health)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 4:26 PM MDT
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MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) - Mesa County Public Health has released their annual suicide report, and it paints a grim picture.

Suicide trends have shifted, indicating that most suicide victims had not attempted suicide previously, and many were intoxicated at the time of their death. Most were under stress from multiple different sources, with many victims under pressure due to drug or alcohol abuse, relationship stressors, or declining health, among many other factors.

However, there were two main unifying factors between many suicides in Mesa County. The majority of suicide victims were men, and most were killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound with little to no warning. Only one in eight people who died from suicide last year had a known previous attempt.

For every death by suicide in 2021, there were approximately 12 suicide-related visits to an emergency room.

Suicides have also increased, climbing ever year since 2017 except 2019. Most victims are also intoxicated, with close to 75% of suicide victims being intoxicated at the time of their death. Most did not have access to mental health services either, with only 26% of victims having accessed mental healthcare previously.

Suicide attempts in youth have fallen since 2020, but are still higher than in 2019 and 2018. Suicidal ideation has increased in valley youth every year since 2018. In adults, however, suicide attempts have risen significantly despite a drop in 2020. Ideation has increased slightly since 2020. Most suicide attempts were committed with over the counter pain medication, benzodiazepines (Xanax and other similar medications), or other prescription medications.

Feelings of social isolation have also increased at a steady rate, rising from just over 20 percent in 2019 to over 30% in 2021.

Food insecurity, a contributing factor to mental health degradation, has remained steady at 15% since 2020. Unemployment has also fallen by roughly one percent.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal ideation, urges to hurt yourself, or if you just need to get something off your chest, there are resources available to you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Trevor Lifeline: 866-488-7386

Crisis Text Line: Text “HELLO” to 741741

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