Larimer County sees 18 percent increase in suicide rate

Emery Love

The number of suicides in Larimer County has increased by 18 percent in the last year, according to The Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County.

“This is not what anyone wants to see in our community,” said Lina Maher from The Alliance for Suicide Prevention. “Once we reach out as a community and really help to give resources we would love to see these numbers decline.”

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Maher said some possible reasons for the increased rate could be attributed to a lack of mental health care.

“What we have seen over the years is that undiagnosed or untreated mental illness can increase the risk of suicide,” Maher said.  “What our community can do to help to decrease the suicide rates will be raising awareness, education, treatment and resources available in our community and helping to stop the stigma of mental illness.”

Many organizations in Larimer County have been trying to accomplish this. Hope for Today is an organization part of The Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The group goes to schools across the county and works to stop the negative stigma of mental illness.

The CSU Health Center offers counseling services for any fee-paying student.

“We have had a steady increase in the number of students seeking counseling services at the Health Network every year,” said Susan Macquiddy, the director of counseling services for The CSU Health Center. “In 2013-2014, over 15 percent of CSU students used counseling services.”

According to Fort Collins mental health provider Pamela Iverson, the increase in suicides seems to be more visible in young people.

“Quality mental and medical help are getting harder and harder to find,” Iverson said. “Most suicide attempts I deal with are a cry for help.”

Iverson believes that more compassion and less judgments by others could help decrease the rate.

“Getting to speak with the health care professional is always a great first step, especially if someone is feeling anxiety or depression,” Maher said.

There are many resources available to for those who are struggling or would like to reach out to for help.

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The Alliance of Suicide Prevention can be reached at (970) 482-2209 as well as at their website.

Students can call the CSU Health Network to schedule an appointment at (970) 491-6053 or visit Aylesworth Hall.

“We all can make a difference by knowing you are not alone,” Maher said. “Educate and raise awareness.”

Collegian Reporter Emery Love can be reached at news@collegian.com and on Twitter @emerynlove.