Thursday, September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day and the suicide prevention hotline is 800 -273 -8355.

When the pandemic hit, Colorado recorded a 40% decrease in suicides in March and April, as reported by the Denver Post. However, later on, calls to the suicide prevention hotline spiked by 48%.

According to Mental Health Colorado, our state consistently has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America with  Colorado in the top third percent for suicide.

Dr. Emmy Betz shared in a blog post on UCHealth.org that suicide is a "complex issue without a single answer." She went on to say, "when I talk with patients in the emergency room or teach medical students and residents, I point out the common thread of hopelessness."

She also expressed concern of available firearms in Colorado and their connection to suicide, in addition to how COVID-19 and recent protests have exposed racial and socioeconomic disparities in connection to fatality rates.

Warning signs of suicidal behaior, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, include:

  • A sharp change in behavior related to a loss or painful event
  • When a person talks of feeling hopeless or being a burden to others
  • When a person talks of having no reason to live or feeling trapped
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Sleeping too much or too little and isolating from friends
  • Aggression or fatigue and withdrawing from activities
  • Anxiety, depression or a radical improvement of mood

Psychology Today has predicted that a "post COVID-19 suicide epidemic" may be in our future. This is because of economic stress, social isolation, barriers to mental health treatment, loss of community, fear of the unknown and social media influences.

So, on this day of awareness and prevention, take care of each other and yourself.

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