The Suicide Prevention Collaborative of El Paso County Responds to Coroner’s Report
June 15, 2022
Suicides dropped for the third straight year with 176 recorded in 2021, which included a large decrease in youth suicides from 15 in 2020 to four in 2021 according to the Coroner’s Report covering El Paso County. The report released June 14, 2022 stated that nearly a third of the suicides had a known active or prior military duty, a 10 percent increase from 2020. The average age at death was 44, and 81 percent of completed suicides were male. Of the 176 deaths by suicide, 114 (65%) involved firearms which is much higher than the national percentage (around 50%). The Collaborative will analyze the findings to address upcoming strategies of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.
The Suicide Prevention Collaborative (The Collaborative) of El Paso County is a partnership of health and social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, businesses, academic organizations, faith based communities and community members. Cassandra Walton, Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership (PPSPP) and Chief Chris Heberer, Director of Public Safety, City of Fountain serve as co-chairs.
“The Coroner’s Report affirms that The Collaborative is on track and highlights the continued need for community participation, even at the most basic level”, said Cass Walton, co-chair of The Collaborative.
Cass Walton continued, “the reduction in youth suicide demonstrates that we must sustain the gains made with our youth which means we need parents, school districts and other youth serving organizations to continue to be intentional and strategic in supporting the social, emotional wellness of our youth. We also must focus on the other things that the data has been telling us: we need to address firearm storage, continue to increase access to suicide safer care for our military community and increase effective outreach with men- which we believe a good starting point for is having employers get on board with standardized suicide prevention policies and procedures.”
Co-Chair, Suicide Prevention Collaborative of El Paso County and Executive Director of Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention