22 Mar 2014
Four Source Summaries: Factors of Suicide Rates Rising in Colorado Part A
1. Meredith C. Carroll, former columnist for The Aspen Times and current columnist for The Denver Post, reveals in her article, “Grim Suicide Statistics Plague Colorado”, just how shocking Colorado suicide rates are in comparison to the national average and what might have a hand in increasing these statistics; specifically Colorado's geography. Carroll states that in Colorado, states of higher elevation or “mountain towns”, have a higher suicide rate than towns of lower elevation in the state (1). Director of the Office of Suicide Prevention for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Jarrod Hindman, explains how people migrate to Colorado envisioning a more enlightened life- not considering that, “[. . .] that life can be doubly troubling if they still don't find themselves more content as a result” (1). Carroll suggests that Colorado’s wide open spaces could also be to blame; seeing as those coping with depression in a less community-like setting would make one less inclined to reach out for help. Since 2012, when suicide rates in Colorado reached an all-time high, Carroll notes that, “More help has become available in the past few years across the state [. . .]” (1). Since towns and small communities within towns are located so far apart, limited access to psychological counseling and mental health clinics plays one of the largest roles in Colorado's increasing suicide rate.
1. www.denverpost.com. “M. Carroll: Grim Suicide Statistics Plague Colorado”. 06. Feb. 2014. 22. Mar. 2014.
Part B Kairos: In 2012, suicide rates in Colorado increased 12% since only the previous year marking a record high for the state at 27.3%. Not only does the current rate of 19.7% nearly double the national average of 10.4%, Colorado has remained on the top-ten list of states in America with the highest suicide rates since as early as 1940. Not only Colorado but other mountainous states such as New Mexico, Alaska, and Wyoming have remained on this list over a nearly 25 year time period. This is a topic of which little research and explanation has been given not only in the state of Colorado, but nationwide. Understanding what triggers those living in highly elevated states, especially Colorado, to commit suicide is of key importance to explaining why suicide rates are higher in the western world.
Audience: Citizens of Colorado, parents, teenagers, mental health institutions, people attending public schools, people living at or below the poverty line, people living in highly elevated areas of Colorado, people living with depression, those considering moving to the state, and families of those related to suicide victims.
(Working Title) Factors in Colorado's Raising Suicide Rates
I. Introductory Paragraph
Over the past ten years, the state of Colorado has teetered back and fourth between the fifth and sixth slot of states in America with the highest suicide rate percentage. Considering the preconceived notion of a more enlightened life in Colorado, many would find this fact to be shocking, even bizarre. However, there are plenty of factors to consider such as the mere geography and topography of Colorado, gun laws, poverty rates, and the economy.
II. Viewpoint one- The geography of Colorado, including rural, wide open spaces and high elevation can factor in a number of reasons why the suicide rates continue to remain so high. Areas of higher elevation (in comparison to other states in America), such as Colorado Springs, have access to only ¾ the amount of oxygen you breathe at sea level (logos); thus sending less oxygen flow to the brain and affecting our day-to-day mental and physical status. When looking at a suicide map of the United States you can clearly tell that suicide rates of those states located in the west are much higher than those of states located at lower elevations