Intervention Hotline Rates Colorado in Top 3 For Suicidal Thoughts

July 31, 2015

Colorado is among the nation’s leaders in a troubling category -- suicidal thoughts -- according to The Crisis Text Line, a national crisis intervention hotline, where conversations happen by text message.

The organization says that its users are primarily young people between 13 - 25 years old, and its data reflects people who contact the  crisis line via text. That means the findings may differ from the U.S. population as a whole in some ways. But, within the 7.5 million messages exchanged with crisis text line, controlling for population, Colorado is No. 3 for suicidal thoughts.

A person can contact the organization by sending a text message to 741741.  A counselor, usually a volunteer, will text back.

Only Montana and Alaska had higher numbers than Colorado, the organization says. Its CEO, Nancy Lublin, told an audience at a health conference in Keystone that Colorado ranked third in the U.S., based on usage patterns, in suicidal thoughts.

“This is not one of the things you want to be No. 3 in," Lublin said. "You want to be No. 3 in things like literacy.  There’s lots of things you’d like to be No. 3 in.  You don’t want to be No. 3 in suicidal thoughts," she said.

In 2013, the most recent year for which the state's health department provides numbers, there were 1,004 suicides among Colorado residents, or about 18.5 per 100,000 people. That was the second highest number ever recorded here -- there were 1,053 in 2012 -- and it was the seventh leading cause of death in the state. 

Colorado's health department also operates intervention hotlines:

  • 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • 1-844-493-TALK (8255) Colorado Crisis & Support Line

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