Dec 2, 2009 7:03 AM by John Romero

Suicides continue to rise in Southern Colorado

A tree is lit at Chapel of Our Savior Episcopal Church on Tuesday night. It's not for the holidays, but in memory of suicide victims. Unfortunately suicide is no stranger to Southern Colorado. "El Paso County for the year 2008 had 139 completed suicides." says Susan Davis with the Suicide Prevention Partnership. The numbers are staggering; on average there are 6 suicide attempts in El Paso County every day. From 2000 to 2008 the county had more deaths by suicide than homicides and car crashes combined.

Davis says there's a number of warning signs to look for in a suicidal person. Depression, loneliness and isolation are just a few. Many suicides are now happening because of a bad economy. "People are losing their jobs and their homes." she explains, "That affects relationships."

But there's no one category of person who fits a suicidal stereotype. That's something Guy Bennett knows all too well. On February 10, 2002 Bennett found his son Matthew dead in the family's garage. He had hung himself. "It was a day that obviously I'll never forget." says Bennett,
"The toughest thing I've ever had to do was tell my wife that not only was our son dead, but he was dead at his own hands." Now Guy and his wife teach others about suicide prevention. He says the most important thing one can do is ask questions. "If you think they only want attention, give them the attention. Find out. Ask more questions. That's one way you may save a life."

For more information on suicide you can visit the Suicide Prevention Partnership's website at www.pikespeaksuicideprevention.org

The Local Suicide Prevention Hotline is (719) 596-LIFE (5433)




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