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2021 Suicide Report Released, Local Coalition Focuses on Prevention

2021 Suicide Report Released, Local Coalition Focuses on Prevention

If you’re struggling, or know someone who needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or text CO to 741741.

BACKGROUND

Suicide Prevention is a priority for Mesa County. 

An annual report is prepared in collaboration with Mesa County Public Health, Mesa County Coroner, and the Mesa County Suicide Prevention Coalition. The group collects and analyzes data to understand suicide trends and key findings. The report is used for planning and implementation of prevention activities across Mesa County.

 

KEY FINDINGS

In contrast to previous years, people who died by suicide in 2021 were less likely to have a known previous attempt and a much higher incidence of intoxication at the time of death. They were also more likely to be impacted by multiple types of stressors at the time of their death. Stressors include things like relationship, financial, legal, or health challenges.

Data was collected on suicide attempts and suicidal ideation resulting in an emergency department visit. For every death by suicide in 2021, there were approximately twelve suicide-related visits to an emergency department in Mesa County. Youth had the highest number of visits for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.

All health outcomes, including suicide risk, are connected to how people live, work, worship, learn, and play. The report details how these factors can be addressed to reduce suicide risk. 

Examples include,

  • Feeling connected to other people; schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, faith communities, and cultural groups protect people from suicide risk.
  • Economic stability increases resilience and reduces financial stress – a risk factor for suicide.  Policies and practices for increased food security, affordable housing, family-friendly employment, and access to affordable, quality child care are suicide prevention efforts.

 

SUICIDE PREVENTION IN ACTION

Innovative programs and activities are underway in Mesa County by healthcare, government, business, and nonprofit organizations.

  • Gun shops and pawn shops participate in Colorado’s Gun Shop Project, providing information about suicide risk and distributing gun locks to encourage safe storage of firearms.
  • In 2021, over 700 pounds of medication was disposed of at Take Back sites.
  • In 2021, the Suicide Prevention Coalition, in collaboration with the Mesa County Coroner’s Office, hired a Suicide Loss Coordinator who supports valley residents who have recently lost a loved one to suicide. 

The Mesa County Suicide Prevention Coalition works towards its goal of reducing suicide by 20% by 2024.

View the complete annual report here.

Tell Us: Mesa County Seeks Community Input for Priorities and Future Projects

Tell Us: Mesa County Seeks Community Input for Priorities and Future Projects

This week Mesa County launched a community survey, known as Tell Us.

Tell Us is a 15-minute survey for all adults in Mesa County. Mesa County Public Health Director, Jeff Kuhr, explained, “Our community members are our local experts. They know our community best and have a great vision for what they want to see in Mesa County. We mean it when we say, “tell us!” Tell us your ideas and opinions. Tell us what we should focus on for the future of Mesa County.”

The survey is available in English and Spanish and will run until July 29th. Community members can take the survey on a cellphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet. Residents can also call 970-248-6900 to have a paper copy of the survey mailed to their home. All responses are confidential and will not be shared in any manner that could be used to identify an individual.

The feedback will be used by county leadership to:

  • Understand current community member experiences with Mesa County services,
  • Plan, prioritize, and budget for future County projects, and
  • Identify trends or upcoming issues that the County may want to address.

Research and Planning Program Manager, Heidi Dragoo, discussed how the information will be used. She said, “The County will use the feedback from the community to set priorities, inform planning, and budgeting. Mesa County Public Health will use the information about social connections, outdoor recreation, and quality of life to support community initiatives to help every Mesa County resident thrive.” Current community initiatives are working to address substance use, mental health, outdoor recreation, strengthening social connections, healthy starts for kids, and suicide prevention. You can learn more about these existing initiatives here

The survey can be accessed in English and Spanish through this webpage.

COVID-19 Vaccine Approved for Younger Children, Mesa County Prepares for Distribution

COVID-19 Vaccine Approved for Younger Children, Mesa County Prepares for Distribution

Now all children, down to six months old, are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines on June 19th. Mesa County Public Health ordered Moderna and Pfizer vaccine in anticipation of this approval. Clinical trials and ongoing safety monitoring ensure that the vaccine is safe and effective for this age group. Vaccination provides protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19 like hospitalization and death.

COVID-19 continues to circulate in Mesa County and is now becoming endemic, like influenza. Unvaccinated individuals continue to dominate the reported new cases. From May 1 to June 20, slightly over 92% of new cases were in unvaccinated individuals. Fifteen-percent of children ages infant through four years old have had COVID-19. This population is estimated to be 4.5% of Mesa County’s population. When considering unreported cases, 60% to 70% of this age group has no immunity. This approval means that more of the community can receive protection.

The community will be notified when the vaccine for this age group arrives. Families can call Mesa County Public Health and schedule an appointment. MCPH has a team of experts who work with this age group every day and create an environment that is good for the child and the parent. Visit the COVID-19 Vaccine webpage for more information.

No Burn Advisory Issued Due to Critical Weather Conditions

No Burn Advisory Issued Due to Critical Weather Conditions

Due to fire safety concerns, Mesa County Public Health has issued a No Burn Advisory from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 17. Burning of any kind, including agricultural burning, is not allowed during this advisory period.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Mesa County and other areas across the Western Slope. Dry thunderstorms and gusty winds are expected.

Instead of burning, consider these alternatives:

  • Take yard waste to the Mesa County Organic Materials composting facility at Mesa County Solid Waste, 3071 U.S. Hwy. 50. The facility accepts material for composting at no charge and is open Wednesday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. For more information, call (970) 263-9319.
  • Compost leaves and grass clippings yourself. This can improve water retention in your yard or garden.
  • Rent or borrow a wood chipper for your tree and shrub trimmings. Chipped branches can also be good mulch.

For information on current air quality conditions and to learn if it’s OK to burn, visit the air quality page.

No Burn Advisory Issued Due to Critical Weather Conditions

No Burn Advisory Extended Through June 14

**The No Burn Advisory is extended through Tuesday, June 14.**

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning and High Wind Advisory for Mesa County.

The combination of gusty winds, low relative humidity, and dry fuels will result in critical fire weather conditions.

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Due to fire safety concerns, Mesa County Public Health has issued a no burn advisory from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on June 13. Burning of any kind, including agricultural burning, is not allowed during this advisory period.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning and Wind Advisory for Mesa County and other areas across the Western Slope. Southwest winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph expected. The combination of gusty winds, low relative humidity, and dry fuels will result in critical fire weather conditions.

Instead of burning, consider these alternatives:

  • Take yard waste to the Mesa County Organic Materials composting facility at Mesa County Solid Waste, 3071 U.S. Hwy. 50. The facility accepts material for composting at no charge and is open Wednesday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. For more information, call (970) 263-9319.
  • Compost leaves and grass clippings yourself. This can improve water retention in your yard or garden.
  • Rent or borrow a wood chipper for your tree and shrub trimmings. Chipped branches can also be good mulch.

For information on current air quality conditions and to learn if it’s OK to burn, visit the air quality page.

No Burn Advisory Issued Due to Critical Weather Conditions

No Burn Advisory on June 12 Due to Critical Weather Conditions

Due to fire safety concerns, Mesa County Public Health has issued a no burn advisory from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on June 12.

Burning of any kind, including agricultural burning, is not allowed during this advisory period. 

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Mesa County and other areas across the Western Slope. The combination of gusty winds, low relative humidity, warm temperatures, and dry fuels will result in critical fire weather conditions. 

Instead of burning, consider these alternatives:

  • Take yard waste to the Mesa County Organic Materials composting facility at Mesa County Solid Waste, 3071 U.S. Hwy. 50. The facility accepts material for composting at no charge and is open Wednesday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. For more information, call (970) 263-9319.
  • Compost leaves and grass clippings yourself. This can improve water retention in your yard or garden.
  • Rent or borrow a wood chipper for your tree and shrub trimmings. Chipped branches can also be good mulch.

For information on current air quality conditions and to learn if it’s OK to burn, visit the air quality page.