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Record suicide toll rocks Colorado. Could altitude be to blame?

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posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 10:40 AM
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Being a native to Colorado, suicide rates near where I live and around the state have become alarming to me.


Throughout the state, Colorado has set an unfortunate record with the highest number of suicides ever recorded in state history. Altogether, 940 people took their own lives in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available. Among the stark statistics: The toll marked a 17 percent increase over the next highest year, 2007, and the highest suicide rate per capita in Colorado since 1988. Nearly twice as many people died by their own hands last year as those who died in car accidents. Almost 80 percent of those who committed suicide were men. While the state no longer tracks suicides specifically among ranchers or farmers, the suicide rate is disproportionately high in Colorado’s rural counties. While the suicide rate is higher in rural Colorado, the number of suicides is greater in more populated, urban areas. Colorado consistently ranks among the top 10 states in the country for suicide. In 2007, the last year for which national statistics are available, Colorado had the sixth highest suicide rate in the country.


Just in the last few months, it's come to my attention that around 20+ students at CSU alone have committed suicide. I cannot prove this, however, as it was my mother who told me about the alarming number over these few past months. (She's basically obsessed with checking who's died in my county, as she nearly checks it daily)


Now, a new study may help explain the high suicide rates that have long confounded mental health workers in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West.
Dr. Perry Renshaw, a psychiatrist at the University of Utah’s Brain Institute and an investigator with the Veterans Affairs Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center based in both Salt Lake City and Denver, has found a new overwhelming link between high altitude locations and suicide. The study could have profound implications for suicide prevention in Colorado – the state with the highest average altitude in the country.
“At 6,000 feet (above sea level) suicide rates increased by approximately 70 percent. It’s huge,’’ said Renshaw, the lead researcher on the study.



They found that altitude was an independent risk factor. Renshaw cautions that more research needs to be done, but he believes that oxygen deprivation at higher elevations, known as hypoxia, may cause metabolic stress on people with depression and other mood disorders.
“We calculated the altitude for every county in the U.S. and you get this whoppingly high correlation between high altitude and suicide risk,’’ Renshaw said. “The take-home message is that it’s exceedingly unlikely that this would happen by chance. It would be just one chance in a gazillion.”


To me, these researchers could potentially be onto something, but I think more research needs to be preformed before this can be completely confirmed.
What do you feel about this? Do you think altitude could have something to do with these suicides, or do you think depression among other things are just running rampant in Colorado?
How do you guys think we should go about trying to reduce these numbers?

Here's the source if you would like to read more.
Source


Sorry if this has been posted previously. I did a search and didn't find anything on this topic.

ETA: It seems Mr. Renshaw has done research about this with data from Korea as well, and his findings were pretty solid, IMO.

Veteran suicide researchers remain skeptical about a direct link between high altitude and suicide. Many had theorized that there was something unique about the people drawn to the American West that elevated suicide risk. To test for this, Renshaw and his team looked at data from Korea, a country with varying high-altitude topography similar to the Rocky Mountain region. They found exactly the same trend in a totally different culture. “The higher you live, the higher the suicide rate was,’’ Renshaw said. “Altitude remains one of the strongest suicide predictors.”

edit on 10/1/2012 by Believer101 because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 11:37 AM
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Amazing information.

Why doesn't it happen in the Andes or the Himalayas?

I think lifestyle and attitude may have as much to do with this as altitude.

I'm looking forward to more details as to the reasons they find through further study.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 11:43 AM
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Originally posted by antoinemarionette
Amazing information.

Why doesn't it happen in the Andes or the Himalayas?

I think lifestyle and attitude may have as much to do with this as altitude.

I'm looking forward to more details as to the reasons they find through further study.



I'm not completely sure. It could very well happen, we just may not hear about it. I had to do a fairly extensive Google search just to find this article about it.

That's my thoughts on it as well, being a survivor of suicide myself, but I do believe altitude may have a lot to do with it. As do situations at home.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 12:48 PM
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Have you looked at the obituaries on the Reporter Herald's site by chance? I was shocked the other day when I went on there and I saw 2 girls, both in their early teens, who had died. My son's friend knew one of the girls at Mountain View, and he confirmed it was a suicide. It would be interesting to get suicide stats from state to state over time.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 12:51 PM
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reply to post by navy_vet_stg3
 


Yeah, I heard. That's where my mum gets her information. That and from the Coloradoan. She told me earlier this morning, bout half an hour ago or so, that just last year there were about 60 suicides in Larimer County alone.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 12:53 PM
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Maybe economic situation is reason like in Prague , Czech Republic
Prague hangmen erected to protest ‘economic suicides’
www.ceskapozice.cz...





posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 12:56 PM
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reply to post by xavi1000
 


I doubt it's the economic situation here in Colorado that's causing it.
I know times are hard, but I do know that people aren't committing suicide because of that reason.

A majority of the deaths by suicide involving CSU students are from Drug Overdoses and alcohol poisoning.
SMH, that's what really happens in big colleges. Drugs and alcohol run rampant in those places.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 01:09 PM
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reply to post by Believer101
 

Beings as I live in Loveland, those are my sources too. I was commenting about this to my wife a few weeks ago, and it just sickens me. I remember at just before school started last year (my son's senior year), one of the guys in his JROTC killed himself a few days before the start of the year. They were up at camp in Wyoming just a few weeks prior. It was pretty devastating for my son, as that kid was on my son's color guard and drill team.

I think the teen suicide is due to the same things you and I had to deal with as kids, and the normal pressures of hormones, and being a teen. Today though, they have Facebook harassment, and texting harassment, etc. Also, there seems to be even more of a push to look/act in a specific way, and if you're outside the norm, these kids take a lot of pressure. As a parent, I think a child suicide is probably the worst possible scenario possible, and I've always made it a point to talk to all my son's friends about the "permanent solution to a temporary problem" mentality.

As for the adult suicides, it could be a multitude of things. We have to remember, Larimer County has exploded over the past couple decades. I used to hunt coyote where my house currently is. The area out by I-25 and Hwy. 34 used to be desolate all the way to Greeley. Now, it's built up. More people, more suicides. It's sad nonetheless.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 04:40 PM
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reply to post by antoinemarionette
 


It seems from the article that high altitude does not cause depression, it adds an additional symptom to the depression, Hypoxia, which in turn adds some kind of stress to the brain during depression (which is a chemical imbalance that can be caused by a number of different things) which in turn leads to significantly higher suicide rates.

I think though it probably does have a lot to do with culture.. but if you look at a list of countries with high suicide rates: en.wikipedia.org... it doesn't really appear so. You have in the top 3 nations with the highest suicide rates poor Lithuania as first, rich South Korea second, poor Guyana third. Three different cultures, 3 different races, 3 different economic builds (production, high tech and agriculture) Even 3 polar opposite climates and elevations.

So who knows .. there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason, though Slavic countries do seem to be disproportionally higher. Interesting study though.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 06:36 PM
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Originally posted by navy_vet_stg3
reply to post by Believer101
 

Beings as I live in Loveland, those are my sources too. I was commenting about this to my wife a few weeks ago, and it just sickens me. I remember at just before school started last year (my son's senior year), one of the guys in his JROTC killed himself a few days before the start of the year. They were up at camp in Wyoming just a few weeks prior. It was pretty devastating for my son, as that kid was on my son's color guard and drill team.

I think the teen suicide is due to the same things you and I had to deal with as kids, and the normal pressures of hormones, and being a teen. Today though, they have Facebook harassment, and texting harassment, etc. Also, there seems to be even more of a push to look/act in a specific way, and if you're outside the norm, these kids take a lot of pressure. As a parent, I think a child suicide is probably the worst possible scenario possible, and I've always made it a point to talk to all my son's friends about the "permanent solution to a temporary problem" mentality.

As for the adult suicides, it could be a multitude of things. We have to remember, Larimer County has exploded over the past couple decades. I used to hunt coyote where my house currently is. The area out by I-25 and Hwy. 34 used to be desolate all the way to Greeley. Now, it's built up. More people, more suicides. It's sad nonetheless.




I know what you mean. I float between Loveland and Fort Collins myself, so we rely on those two papers for our information as well. One of my life-long friends and semi-little brother knew I kid on his wrestling team at Mountain View that recently committed suicide and I know it took a massive toll on him and a few of his friends.

Oh absolutely. Being a teenager was hard enough back in the day, I couldn't imagine doing it now. With all the pressures of society to look, act, think, and be a certain way, it's very hard for teens to grow up in this time. I haven't been lucky enough to become a parent, but I'm still young so I have time, but I could only imagine how hard it would be to lose a child, especially to suicide.

And you're right, it most definitely has exploded over time. While going down Harmony near Timberline, I remember when I was a kid and playing in the completely open fields. Now, it's full of restaurants, shops, and various other businesses and it breaks my heart. With how hard it is now with all of these people here now, it takes a toll on others. And I have to say, I feel absolutely awful towards the families that have lost those due to suicide.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 06:55 PM
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Greetings!

So... I have two mini-theory/ideas... so far


Could it be possible the increase in deaths (you mention drug and alcohol related) at CSU are do to students coming from different parts of the country and not being used to the elevation, causing accidental OD's? (I didn't do the research to find out if these deaths were 100% thought to be suicide. So you may have more info than what I have here.)

Next idea:

The higher up you go, the less.... well, everything. Except for nature, that is. :-)

Less people.
Less thing to do.
Less opportunities.
Less jobs.
Less possible mates.

The list goes on. So... for people predisposed to depression, dealing with all that may be the breaking point.

I've only lived here for just over a year (and I LOVE it), but it is easy to notice that most people spend most of their time and money at one of the 3 bars in town. There's no school in the town, but there are 3 bars. (A town over from my town.)

People do seem to have the 'ho-hums' around here more often than not.

All that said, I'm always happy. And my husband, who was (many years ago) diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and depression, is also always happy (pretty much
).

I feel a million times better up here (8000 ft). Going outside makes me feel alive.

Other thought...

Don't the Tibetan Monks live pretty high up? Haven't heard of a lot of them cutting out early...



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 06:59 PM
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Originally posted by ElizaAshdene
Greetings!

So... I have two mini-theory/ideas... so far


Could it be possible the increase in deaths (you mention drug and alcohol related) at CSU are do to students coming from different parts of the country and not being used to the elevation, causing accidental OD's? (I didn't do the research to find out if these deaths were 100% thought to be suicide. So you may have more info than what I have here.)

Next idea:

The higher up you go, the less.... well, everything. Except for nature, that is. :-)

Less people.
Less thing to do.
Less opportunities.
Less jobs.
Less possible mates.

The list goes on. So... for people predisposed to depression, dealing with all that may be the breaking point.


As far as I'm aware, most of the CSU students who OD'd on drugs or alcohol were all natives to Colorado. From what my mum told me, anyways.

Here in Fort Collins, though, there's a lot to do.
A lot of people, because of the college and such.
There are a ton of things to do if you go look around town.
Plenty of opportunities, depending on what you're looking for.
The job rate now is about the same as everywhere else, that I am aware of.
With as many people there are here, and in Loveland as well ('bout 5-10 min drive depending on traffic) there are plenty of mates for people.



posted on Jan, 11 2012 @ 07:15 PM
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Ya' teach a generation of school kids that suicide is glamorous, and what do you expect?

www.antidepressantsfacts.com...
Another Outcome Based Education program, Death Education, further damaged children by forcing them to focus on their own mortality: One student related the following story: "We had an English course in seventh grade junior high whose title was 'Death Education.' In the manual, 73 out of 80 stories had to do with death, dying, killing, murder, suicide, and what you wanted on your tombstone. One of the girls, a ninth grader, blew her brains out after having written a note on her front door that said what she wanted on her tombstone."
A class of sixth graders were asked to play a "survival game" in which they were to decide which three people they should eliminate from the group, according to their age and contribution; in another class they were asked to write their own epitaphs or obituaries.

www.newswithviews.com...
Some years ago, THE WASHINGTON POST reported a dramatic increase in youth suicides, and the POST then published my letter showing how elementary school children recently had been taught the theme song from "M.A.S.H.," which is "Suicide Is Painless." The song explains that the game of life is lost, cheating is the only way to win, and that suicide is painless.

Colorado has long been the epicenter of this death worship:

Sometime back in 1990, ABC's "20/20" news program broadcast nationwide a segment titled "An Expose on Death Education." It mostly consisted of an interview with an ex-Columbine High School student and her experiences in an "American Literature" class. She describes the class as making death glamorous and that it made her plan for her own suicide.
"The things that we learned in class taught us how to be brave enough to face death."
Assignments included writing suicide notes and writing their own obituary. They had suicide "talk" days, about how they would kill themselves and why. Tara says one girl in her class tried to kill herself four times in one week.



posted on Jan, 12 2012 @ 06:18 PM
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Originally posted by starviego
Ya' teach a generation of school kids that suicide is glamorous, and what do you expect?

www.antidepressantsfacts.com...
Another Outcome Based Education program, Death Education, further damaged children by forcing them to focus on their own mortality: One student related the following story: "We had an English course in seventh grade junior high whose title was 'Death Education.' In the manual, 73 out of 80 stories had to do with death, dying, killing, murder, suicide, and what you wanted on your tombstone. One of the girls, a ninth grader, blew her brains out after having written a note on her front door that said what she wanted on her tombstone."
A class of sixth graders were asked to play a "survival game" in which they were to decide which three people they should eliminate from the group, according to their age and contribution; in another class they were asked to write their own epitaphs or obituaries.

www.newswithviews.com...
Some years ago, THE WASHINGTON POST reported a dramatic increase in youth suicides, and the POST then published my letter showing how elementary school children recently had been taught the theme song from "M.A.S.H.," which is "Suicide Is Painless." The song explains that the game of life is lost, cheating is the only way to win, and that suicide is painless.

Colorado has long been the epicenter of this death worship:

Sometime back in 1990, ABC's "20/20" news program broadcast nationwide a segment titled "An Expose on Death Education." It mostly consisted of an interview with an ex-Columbine High School student and her experiences in an "American Literature" class. She describes the class as making death glamorous and that it made her plan for her own suicide.
"The things that we learned in class taught us how to be brave enough to face death."
Assignments included writing suicide notes and writing their own obituary. They had suicide "talk" days, about how they would kill themselves and why. Tara says one girl in her class tried to kill herself four times in one week.




Coming from someone who has a little sister in this day and age going through high-school, I have never heard of any of this. Her and I talk about school on a daily basis, so I'm honestly calling BS on those two articles.
Not only do I have my younger sister as a source, I also have her friends, their friends, various other high-school kids to talk to, and I've also been an aid in a lot of high-school / junior high school classes.
Not once have I ever heard of any of this bull.



posted on Jan, 12 2012 @ 11:12 PM
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reply to post by Believer101
 


If you Google: death education programs for students, you can see the reference information is correct. It may not be in effect everywhere but it is out there.

Here is one link I pulled up for two high schools in Ohio: www.jstor.org...


Utah: www.jstor.org...

Also with all the hype over 2012 and EOW, the increase of natural disasters, some people can't take it.



posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 10:26 AM
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Originally posted by Believer101
Coming from someone who has a little sister in this day and age going through high-school, I have never heard of any of this. ... Not only do I have my younger sister as a source, I also have her friends, their friends, various other high-school kids to talk to, and I've also been an aid in a lot of high-school / junior high school classes.
Not once have I ever heard of any of this bull.

It is possible they simply don't have this as part of the curriculum at her school. Or it is more possible that they simply renamed it to confuse the participant. Now they may call it 'life skills class' or as part of 'health education class' or they may hide it in civics or literature class. A lot of the really pernicious stuff isn't in the textbooks the pupils take home--it's in the handouts they have to hand back at the end of class.

And it's not just 'death ed.' It's a whole host of bizarre lessons in breaking down the individual and his beliefs--drug ed, gay sex ed, occult ed, nihilism ed, police state ed, etc.:

"Through deceptive, behaviorist tactics like Values Clarification, psychological and psychiatric questionnaires, “self esteem” programs, and psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs, the minds of children are being manipulated to fulfill certain behavioral objectives. ..... This process, in part, involves breaking down and subtly invalidating the child’s already acquired values—in particular, his family’s values—and replacing them with the idea that there is no set right or wrong, only personal opinion. For the child, the result can be, minimally, confusion and disorientation. .... “These psychologically-based programs are harming children...it’s mind control from womb to tomb.” ..... "They come away with the impression that even the most basic values are matters of dispute.”
"Manipulating Young Minds":
www.cchr.org/index.cfm/6963

edit on 13-1-2012 by starviego because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 15 2012 @ 01:24 PM
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reply to post by Rockpuck
 


Thank you for that scholarly reply!

I agree, there have to be multiple contributors to suicide rates, altitude being one of many.



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