First Regular Session

Sixty-second General Assembly

LLS NO. R99­0882.01 Alfredo Kemm


BY SENATORS Perlmutter, Rupert, Phillips, Anderson, Andrews, Arnold, Blickensderfer, Chlouber, Dennis, Dyer, Epps, Evans, Feeley, Hernandez, Hillman, Lacy, Lamborn, Linkhart, Martinez, Matsunaka, Musgrave, Nichol, Pascoe, Powers, Reeves, Sullivant, Tanner, Teck, Thiebaut, Congrove, Owen, Tebedo, Wattenberg, Weddig, and Wham;

also REPRESENTATIVES McElhany, Alexander, Bacon, Clarke, Coleman, Dean, Gordon, Gotlieb, Hagedorn, Hefley, Hoppe, Kaufman, Keller, Kester, Larson, Lawrence, Leyba, Mace, May, Miller, Morrison, Plant, Ragsdale, Saliman, Scott, Sinclair, Spence, Stengel, Swenson, Tate, Taylor, Tochtrop, Tool, Tupa, Veiga, S. Williams, Witwer, and Zimmerman.



WHEREAS, Colorado's suicide rate is almost 40 % higher than the national average, with 1,965 lives having been taken over the three­year period from 1995 to 1997, and Colorado ranked fifth in the nation in suicide in 1995; and

WHEREAS, Suicide takes about 55 Colorado lives every month and in its wake leaves countless family members and friends in mourning and emotional distress in attempting to heal and resolve unanswered questions surrounding their loved ones' choices to take their lives; and

WHEREAS, Suicide is Colorado's seventh leading cause of death overall and the leading cause of injury­related death, surpassing even motor vehicle accidents and homicide; and

WHEREAS, In 1996, suicide was the second leading cause of death among Colorado children, teenagers, and young adults in every age category between ages 10 and 34 and took the lives of 136 children and teens, ages 10 to 19 years old, in the three years from 1995 to 1997; and

WHEREAS, Suicide rates increase with advancing age, with the highest suicide rates occurring in the elderly, 75 years and older; and

WHEREAS, White males have the highest suicide rate, accounting for 77% of all suicides in Colorado, while the rate of suicide among young black males is almost as high as that of young white males, having increased more than three­fold since 1950; and

WHEREAS, Men commit suicide five times more frequently than women, accounting for over 80% of the suicides in the three­year period from 1995 to 1997, and have generated an increase in the suicide rate for men by 13% over the past 16 years; and

WHEREAS, Women make more nonfatal suicide attempts than men, accounting for 60% of reported attempts, and while nonfatal suicide attempts have been shown to be severely underreported, nevertheless the Colorado Hospital Association discharge data recorded 7,806 attempted suicides between 1994 and 1996; and

WHEREAS, A study found that in 1995, 8% of Colorado high school teens had made one or more suicide attempts in the previous year, while 17% had planned and 22% had seriously considered a suicide attempt in the previous year; and

WHEREAS, Nonfatal suicide attempts occur 25 times more often than fatal suicides, are strong indicators for later suicide, and add significantly to the emotional burden, medical morbidity, and overall costs of suicidal behavior; and

WHEREAS, The stigma associated with mental illness works against suicide prevention by keeping persons at risk of attempting suicide from seeking lifesaving help and seriously inhibiting family members from regaining meaningful lives; and

WHEREAS, Suicide imposes tremendous economic burdens on the citizens and communities of Colorado, adding to medical and mental health care costs, decreasing productivity, and wiping out years of productive life for survivors coping with the aftermath; and

WHEREAS, On October 9, 1998, the United States House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 212 "recognizing suicide as a national problem" and "declaring suicide prevention a national priority"; and

WHEREAS, The Governor's Suicide Prevention Advisory Commission was created in March 1998 and assembled to study suicide prevention and intervention strategies and to create a statewide plan to reduce suicides; and

WHEREAS, The Citizens' Advisory Panel was created in May 1998 to work collaboratively with the Commission on seven work groups to explore the complex issues related to suicide prevention including public policy, public information and education, best practices for diagnosis and treatment, training for gatekeepers and first responders, prevention and intervention strategies and services, spiritual resources, and social and biological diversity; and

WHEREAS, The Commission issued its report in November 1998 recommending the development of a "lead entity" to assume responsibility for the development of an ongoing system for ensuring integrated, coordinated, and effective information and services for suicide prevention; and

WHEREAS, The Commission further recommended the development of a statewide, ongoing, and comprehensive public information and education campaign including the provision of greater training for individuals involved in the identification, screening, referral, treatment, and follow­up of people at risk of suicide; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Sixty­second General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the House of Representatives concurring herein:

(1)  That the General Assembly recognizes the severity of the problem posed by suicide to the health and spirit of the citizens and communities of Colorado.

(2)  That the General Assembly sympathizes with fellow Coloradans personally touched by the experience of suicide and encourages community initiatives directed at increasing community understanding and compassionate treatment of mental illness and the healing of all affected by the experience of suicide and suicide attempts.

(3)  That the General Assembly applauds the efforts of individuals and groups in communities across Colorado who have dedicated themselves to addressing the physical, emotional, and spiritual problems associated with and created by the tragic incidence of suicide.

(4)  That the General Assembly is committed to encouraging and pursuing an integrated and coordinated approach to community­based solutions as recommended by the Governor's Suicide Prevention Advisory Commission and Citizens' Advisory Panel.

Be It Further Resolved, That a copy of this Resolution be sent to the newly created Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado, which is the successor organization to the former Governor's Suicide Prevention Advisory Commission and Citizens' Advisory Panel.

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Ray Powers Russell George



_________________________ _________________________

Patricia K. Dicks Judith M. Rodrigue