Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Wednesday, October 11, 2000
Amy Jewett Sampson
OWENS ANNOUNCES $378,000 GRANT FROM U.S.
OF HEALTH FOR TEEN SUICIDE PREVENTION PROJECT
State Suicide Prevention Office to use funds to
develop statewide strategic plan for suicide prevention
DENVER – Gov. Bill Owens today announced that Colorado has received a $378,000, two-year grant to develop a teen suicide prevention project.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Coloradans from the ages of 10 through 19. Also, since 1980, the state’s teen suicide rate for children and young people in this age group has been consistently above the national average.
"Suicide among Colorado teenagers is a very serious problem that must be urgently addressed," said Gov. Owens. "It is my hope that we can dramatically reduce the incidences of teen suicide in the state with this new funding."
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded the two-year grant to Colorado’s new Office of Suicide Prevention. The office, which opened on August 1, will collaborate with the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado, a citizen group, on the project. The state office was created by the 2000 Colorado Legislature acting on a recommendation from the Governor and Jane E. Norton, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Department of Public Health and Environment.
The office, which is located at the State Health Department and for which a permanent director now is being hired, is working to coordinate and expand existing suicide prevention programs throughout the state and to address suicide prevention for Coloradans of all ages. The office is funded from a $157,000 state appropriation for the current fiscal year. Stephannie Finley currently is acting director for the office.
Norton said the grant would be used to develop a statewide strategic plan for teen suicide prevention while also exploring the broader context of youth violence, substance abuse and mental health.
"Suicides by Colorado teenagers are among the greatest tragedies that occur in this state," Norton said. "We need to do everything we can to find ways of preventing as many of these deaths as possible. This grant will be a great asset in helping us to do that."
The project development work will be done by the Office of Suicide Prevention staff, working in cooperation with some members of the coalition who will form the Partners for Teen Suicide Prevention
The partners will review existing teen suicide prevention programs in the state for possible use as the basis for a model teen suicide prevention project which will be launched in one or more Colorado communities at the end of the first year of the two-year effort.
The project also will develop a statewide needs assessment on teen suicide; a statewide strategic plan for teen suicide prevention; a financial plan and agreements to sustain a collaborative effort; and will foster development of a community coalition to address teen suicide prevention with linkages to other community youth prevention initiatives. Based on the quality of the completed work, Colorado may be eligible additional federal funding to extend the project beyond the currently scheduled two years.
Between 1990-98 in Colorado, 432 teens committed suicide. The suicide rate per 100,000 Colorado males from 10-19 years of age was 14.6 as compared to 3.3 per 100,000 Colorado females in the same age group during the same period.
Colorado’s suicide rate per 100,000 persons from 10-14 years of age has ranged from 3.1 in 1990 to 2.4 in 1998 while climbing to highs of 6.1 per 100,000 Coloradans in this age group in 1992 and to 4.6 in 1996.
The corresponding suicide rate per 100,000 Colorado teens from 15-19 years of age ranged from 16.3 in 1990 to 13.6 in 1998 with a high of 17.6 in 1992.
The grant application also noted that a 1995 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted by the State Health Department’s Survey Research Unit, showed that among Colorado public high school students:
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