The Mesa County coroner reports 55 persons took their own lives in 2018.

The county continues to have one of the highest suicide rates in Colorado. And that number is on the rise. The 55 suicide deaths are 9 more than in 2017. It's 7 more than in 2016. The counties suicide rate of 35.9 per 100,000 persons is also at a five-year high. What's going on here?

The coroner's report also shows an increase in the number of those that committed suicide were not receiving mental health services. The report goes on to say that 32% had received services, and 13% had not. According to the report, nearly half had either attempted suicide before or had considered taking their own lives in the past.

With the abundant sunshine, outdoor activities, a robust economy, why do so many Mesa County residents feel that taking their own life is the only way out? The answer to "why" is complicated and difficult to understand. What can we do to help? First, encourage those you know and love to get help if they're currently not receiving treatment. Be a friend and take time to check-in and listen to those that are struggling. Finally, give to local charities that provide mental health support and services.

Go to these websites, United Way, Healthy Mesa County, and others to get more information on how you can help. A list of local Mesa County mental health organizations are listed HERE.