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HMA Conducts Multi-Layered Study to Address Alarming Youth Suicide Trends Across Colorado

On January 3, 2019, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman released the study, Community Conversations to Inform Youth Suicide Prevention. The multi-layered study, conducted by HMA, analyzes and characterizes the trends and patterns in the fatal and non-fatal suicidal behaviors among young people in the four Colorado counties with the highest rates of youth suicide: El Paso, La Plata, Mesa, and Pueblo. The purpose of the study was to determine the best strategies for addressing and preventing youth suicide in Colorado and to see where the state’s efforts and dollars can be used most effectively.

HMA designed a multi-pronged strategy to the study with the goal of learning about opportunities and approaches to youth suicide prevention in each of the four counties, and across Colorado. Central to the study was the concept of community conversations.

The project team conducted 42-stakeholder interviews with representatives from public health, behavioral health, schools and youth serving organizations. The team also facilitated 34 focus groups with adults and youth from various communities and sectors. For comparison, focus groups were conducted with school staff and parents in Douglas and Larimer counties, where youth suicide rates were lower and/or there had not been recent suicide clusters.

HMA also reviewed information on current suicide prevention activities and resources in the four counties and across Colorado, traditional and social media coverage related to suicide in the four counties and the state, and publicly available information on school policies and procedures related to suicide prevention and postvention in the aftermath of a student suicide or suicide attempt.

View the key findings here: