Suicide Prevention

Suicide has been a major public health issue in Colorado for years, devastating families and tearing at the fabric of our communities. But we can prevent suicide by improving access to integrated behavioral and primary health care, encouraging those at risk to seek help with community networks, and exploring safe storage options for firearms and lethal medications during periods of crisis.

The legislature designated the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention to lead statewide suicide prevention and intervention efforts. The Office is committed to reducing the number of suicides in Colorado through data-driven, research-based suicide prevention initiatives implemented with an expanding network of statewide partners. The Office prioritizes state funding to create the most meaningful impact through strategic priorities, including:

  • Funding local initiatives.
  • Focusing on high-risk populations and highly impacted parts of the state.
  • Implementing primary prevention strategies to reach individuals prior to the escalation of a crisis.
  • Training individuals to recognize and respond to suicidal crisis.
  • Leading collaborative partnerships.

The Suicide Prevention Commission of Colorado (Senate Bill 14-088) provides public and private leadership for suicide prevention efforts and advises the Office of Suicide Prevention on data-driven, evidence-based interventions.

Suicide Prevention Programs and Priorities

Man Therapy
This website (www.mantherapy.org) is designed to reach working-age men to change the way they think about mental health, provide them with the tools they need to take control of their overall wellness and reduce the number of suicides.

Gun Shop Project
OSP partners with firearm advocates, gun shops, firing ranges and safety instructors to increase awareness of the need for safe storage of firearms, especially during times of suicidal crisis.

Colorado Follow-up Project
Patients discharged from emergency rooms and inpatient hospitals after a suicide attempt or crisis are at higher risk for future suicide attempt or death and are less likely to access follow-up mental health care. The Colorado Follow-Up Project partners with the Colorado Crisis and Support Line to provide telephonic follow-up with patients for 30 days after discharge.

Zero Suicide
The Zero Suicide approach helps primary and behavioral health care systems keep high-risk individuals from falling through the cracks. Evidence shows that this can reduce patient suicide rates by as much as 80 percent.

Community Initiatives

OSP funds school districts, hospitals, community mental health agencies, nonprofit organizations and local public health agencies to implement strategies in Zero Suicide, Man Therapy, Sources of Strength and local initiatives.

Sources of Strength
Sources of Strength is an evidence-based program designed to build emotional resiliency, increase school connectedness and prevent suicide by building protective factors for students including connection to caring adults, positive social norms, and school engagement. The Office of Suicide Prevention collaborates with other groups like Communities That Care that fund Sources of Strength to impact a variety of outcomes.

Support Training for Mental Health/Substance Abuse Providers
The mental health provider community must be empowered with the skills and confidence to directly address suicide risk for clients in their care. OSP provides evidence based training to empower mental health providers to address suicide risk for clients in their care. Through federal funding, the OSP will continue rolling out evidence-based trainings for Colorado providers over the next several years.

Empower Primary Care to Address Suicide Risk
Primary care is often the first line of contact for individuals who are hesitant or resistant to seeking out traditional mental health services directly, particularly men and older adults who are disproportionately represented in Colorado suicide deaths each year. OSP funded the update of a Suicide Prevention Toolkit for primary care practices.
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The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Suicide Prevention webpage has more information on data, OSP grantees, how you can prevent suicide and the Suicide Prevention Commission.