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DDPHE Recognizes National Suicide Prevention Month

September 1-30, 2019

The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) calls your attention to deaths by suicide in the City and County of Denver. DDPHE recognizes National Suicide Prevention Month in an effort to heighten awareness to prevent suicide in the community.

So far in 2019, Denver has 108 confirmed deaths by suicide. In 2018, 159 people took their lives. Often, family and friends are the first to recognize warning signs of suicide and can take the first steps toward helping someone at-risk. Remember, suicide is preventable! If someone tells you they're thinking about ending their life, don't leave them alone. 

You should also tell a trusted friend or family member, or if you’re a student, talk to an adult with whom you’re comfortable. You can also call Colorado Crisis Services: 1-844-493-8255 or text: “TALK” to 38255. DDPHE is committed to making it easier to access help and remove the stigma of mental illness. Please join this effort by being aware of warning signs and taking action if you’re concerned about someone.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 10-20 year-olds in Denver and Colorado. This is based on the latest numbers from the state in 2017. Suicide leaves an untold number of loved ones to deal with the aftermath. City and County of Denver employee Rick Padilla is one of them. His 15-year-old son, Jack, died by suicide in February. The Cherry Creek High School freshman was one of two students at the school who died by suicide this year. Two other teens ended their lives at Grand View High School in Aurora in July. And three students took their lives last year at Arapahoe High School in Littleton.

Now, Padilla has made it his life’s mission to reduce suicide deaths by sharing his experience with the community. Padilla has recently assumed the role of Suicide Prevention Administrator for DDPHE. He's also working on nine Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) in which 40 teenagers discuss suicide prevention. And he helped pass a new law this year allowing children as young as 12 to see a mental health expert without parental permission. DDPHE asks you join this fight by understanding the warning signs and risk factors of suicide so we can help those who need it. Risk factors include:

  • Mental illness, including depression
  • Social isolation
  • Substance abuse
  • Prior suicide attempt
  • Access to guns, knives, prescription medication
  • Family disruptions, including divorce or problems with the law
  • Family history of suicide
  • Being exposed to other’s suicidal behavior, including a family member, peer or media figure
  • Being between the ages of 15 and 24 years or over age 60

Warning signs include:

  • Intense sadness and/or hopelessness
  • Not caring about activities that used to matter
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family

Behavioral Health Resources for Employees

The city provides a wide variety of resources through the GuidanceResources® Employee Assistance Program (EAP). These confidential resources are available to help you and your dependents deal with a wide range of work-life issues. Learn more on the Behavioral Health Resources for Employees webpage.