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Denver Creates Task Force To Tackle Growing Suicide Rate

DENVER (CBS4)- Community leaders in Denver gathered to deliver an important message on World Suicide Prevention Day: There is help.

The message comes as health experts say deaths by suicide are on the rise in Colorado.

In the first nine months of the year, Denver has seen 15 more people die of suicide compared to all of 2017.

The City of Denver is working to address behavioral health issues by creating a specific task force. Some of the solutions being discussed include a social worker accompanying first responders to 911 calls.

(credit: CBS)

They also hope having an open and honest conversation about suicide will allow people to recognize the signs of depression so that as a community, we can notice when someone is struggling. That could lead to getting more help to the people who need it most.

At Monday's announcement was Ben, a 20-year-old who says support from others is why he is still standing today.

"One thing everyone does have in common with each other is everyone goes through difficult times in their lives," said Ben, who did not want to share his last name. "Things always get better, even when it seems like they're not and nothing lasts forever."

"My prayer is that from this day forward, no more of us struggle or suffer because of mental illness or die on account of a tragedy we can prevent," said Andrew Romanoff, CEO of Mental Health Colorado.

"It takes courage to break the silence at home and in the workplace, to speak openly about suicide prevention. But we must have the conversation if were going to change the narrative to one that is hope, treatment and recovery," said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Suicide is the leading cause of death in Colorado among children and adolescents 10 to 24 according to Colorado Health Institute.

If you need help you can call the state crisis hotline number at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or you can text TALK to 38255.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

LINK: Mental Health Colorado

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