Colorado and its suicide rates

The rate of suicide in Colorado remained the same between 2018 and 2019, but the number of lives lost each year in the state has been slowly increasing since 2013. The most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that in 2018, Colorado had one of the 10 highest age-adjusted suicide death rates in the nation, at 21.9 deaths per 100,000 people. Higher-than-national rates of death by suicide have been a consistent trend in Colorado, along with other mountain states like Montana and Wyoming. 

Many people who have died by suicide in Colorado were reported as having a current depressed mood or a diagnosed mental health problem like depression, anxiety, or other conditions such as schizophrenia. But less than a third were identified as currently receiving mental health care. 

As a state, Colorado has a higher prevalence of mental health issues and lower rates of access to care, according to Mental Health America’s 2021 State of Mental Health in America report. Colorado has an overall ranking of 47 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, based on account 15 measures of mental health and substance use prevalence among adults and youth as well as access to care.

Access to mental health care remains a persistent challenge in Colorado: More than one in 10 Coloradans reported not getting needed treatment for mental health issues in 2019, according to the Colorado Health Access Survey. The number of suicide deaths where a current diagnosed mental health problem was reported has increased over time, but gaps in treatment persist.