In 2009, the number of suicides in Colorado was the highest it had been in more than 20 years: 940 deaths. The Colorado Department of Public Health …
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In 2009, the number of suicides in Colorado was the highest it
had been in more than 20 years: 940 deaths.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said
the rate was 18.4 deaths per 100,000 residents, a staggering number
that has been linked by mental health experts to the poor economy
and job loss.
More than 800 Coloradans took part in an event Sept. 11 that
strives to reverse the trend and honor the memory of those lost to
what many consider a preventable cause of death. Sheri Cole, a
Highlands Ranch woman who lost her 16-year-old son, David King, to
suicide last fall, says the medical community should focus as much
on mental health as it does on physical well-being.
She began a campaign earlier this year to promote suicide
prevention and awareness education in local schools and organized
the South Metro Out of the Darkness Walk, in which 650 participants
and 100 volunteers took a stand at Highlands Ranch High School. The
goals set for the walk in May were $25,000 in donations and a few
So far, the event has raised $67,000 in donations, and the
number is climbing. Proceeds benefit the American Foundation for
Suicide Prevention, a source of comfort and understanding for many
who are left behind in the wake of suicide, including Cole. Up to
50 percent of the net proceeds come back to the local community for
suicide prevention and awareness.
Cole and her team of organizers are already in talks with the
Highlands Ranch Metro District and Douglas County School District
to have the event next year. The metro district was instrumental in
helping Cole build a memorial garden with benches at Timberline
Park; Cole can see the monument from her kitchen window.
Cole said she has been “humbled” by the overwhelming amount of
support from the community, especially because suicide has long
been a subject that people do not discuss. There were 49 teams at
the Highlands Ranch walk this year that were participating in
memory of a suicide victim.
Sponsors, donors and individuals interested in helping with next
year’s walk should email email@example.com or visit
the Facebook page by searching “Out of the Darkness Walk –
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