The County Commissioners received some encouraging news indicating that a community wide collaborative effort to reduce teen suicides is starting to make a difference.

Commissioners have recognized September as National Suicide Prevention Month.

Commissioner Peggy Littleton, who also serves as member of the Board of Health, requested the update.

Over the past five years El Paso County has experienced rates of teen suicide that outpace both the state and national averages, an alarming statistic that led to the establishment of a Teen Suicide Prevention working group that includes more than 60 community partner agencies all working together to help teenagers become better equipped to cope with life’s inevitable pressures and disappoints. “There have been two suicides in the age group 10-17 so far this year in El Paso County,” interim El Paso County Public Health Director Susan Whelan reported to Commissioners. “By this same time last year there were eleven teen suicide deaths in El Paso County and we have averaged 14 each year over the last three years. “This is encouraging news in a trend and we are very proud of this community’s efforts but we do not consider it a mission accomplished situation, rather we see this as evidence that we are responding to the crisis in a more effective manner and saving lives,” Whelan concluded.

Youth suicide is complex but five factors are commonly found:

-Drug or alcohol involvement

-Family history of suicide

-Parental divorce

-Recent breakup with boyfriend or girlfriend

-Recent argument or fight with parents

A video of the Public Health report to the Board of County Commissioners can be viewed on the El Paso County YouTube channel at:

Commissioners Hear Update on Effort to Reduce Teen Suicide