As recently proclaimed by the Chaffee Board of County Commissioners, September is National Suicide Prevention Month in the county. For a variety of reasons, not all known or understood, Colorado and the high country of Colorado have suicide rates higher than the national average.
Given this renewed focus on mental health and prevention, Ark Valley Voice decided to review the county’s recent record of suicides occurring here, as reported by Chaffee County Coroner Jeff Graf. For 2022, there were 12 suicides, by a variety of means; with five by guns, and four by hanging;
2022 Suicide Deaths
02-18-22–Hanging-Dept. of Corrections
03-12-22--Multiple Drug Overdose
03-12-22--Hanging-Dept. of Corrections
06-27-22 -Gunshot wound to mouth
07-01-22 –Gunshot wound to head
09-21-22 -CO2 asphyxiation
10-10-22 -Gunshot wound
11-23-22 –Gunshot wound
As much as we might not want to hear this, Graf says that the 2023 suicide rates are “on pace to be an average year, as was 2022. We are at eight suicides for 2023.” In general, guns have become the most common form of suicide.