Mountain states have the highest suicide rate

Brief by Central Staff

Demographics – November 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

Deadly Mountains

Some people see beauty in the Rocky Mountains, some see real estate to sell, and others apparently see their own tombstones.

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, states in the Mountain West have the highest suicide rate. In 1995, Nevada topped the nation with 25.8 suicides per 100,000 population. After it came Montana, 23.1; Arizona, 19.1; New Mexico, 17.8; Colorado, 17.5; and Wyoming, 17.1.

Within Colorado, the three counties with the highest suicide rates, all over 25 per 100,000, are Chaffee, Teller, and Clear Creek, Frémont County was in the middle range at about 20, while suicide was almost non-existent in the rest of Central Colorado and the entire San Luis Valley.

Mental-health professionals, according to a Denver Post series, point to several causes, among the a high rate of alcohol consumption, and people who “move to the West with unrealistic expectations of paradise. Later, many realize that moving didn’t solve any of their problems.”