Help for those at risk of suicide

Re: “Colorado suicide rate reached record high in 2012, health stats show,” Aug. 20 news story.

Recent Denver Post articles portray the tragedy of suicide. The need for mental health and substance abuse treatment continues to rise. In the last five years, the number of people served by community health centers in Colorado has increased by 59 percent, to a record high of 134,329 in 2012. A growing body of evidence suggests that alcohol and drug abuse are second only to depression and other mood disorders as risk factors for suicide. In one study, alcohol and drug abuse disorders were associated with a six-fold increase in the risk of suicide attempts.

Mental Health First Aid is one of the most powerful tools to give people the knowledge and skills they need to identify someone who may be moving into a crisis, know how to talk to them, and when necessary, help the person get treatment. For MHFA classes near you, visit

George DelGrosso, Denver

The writer is chief executive of the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council.

This letter was published in the Aug. 26 edition.