‘Lafayette suicides spotlight increased mental health concerns’


By Max R. Weller

Read the report in the Daily Camera here. Excerpt copied below:

Recent suicides in Lafayette have shed light on a mental health crisis that has quietly enveloped Boulder County, according to police, who along with city leaders will roll out an outreach campaign dubbed “Because We Care” over the next few weeks.

Two violent and public deaths that occurred within Lafayette — the first, when a man shot himself in front of police outside Flatirons Community Church earlier this month, and another on Sunday as dozens of horrified shoppers looked on while a man set fire to himself and his car in a Walmart parking lot — have left residents in the quiet east Boulder County city at a loss for answers . . .

Lafayette leaders are now faced with what police Chief Rick Bashor calls “a serious mental health crisis” gripping the community — an issue that Lafayette, Boulder County and the state as a whole are struggling to right.

Bashor, who has served on Lafayette’s police force for 34 years, says the recent suicides may be a side effect of a growing mental health crisis in recent years across the community.

“When I first started in law enforcement, we would do a 72-hour mental health hold twice a month or so,” Bashor said Monday.

“Now, oftentimes we see people in need of this once or twice a day. We seem to handle more suicides than we ever did in the past.”

A 72-hour hold allows for a person with a mental illness to be involuntarily detained for a 72-hour psychiatric hospitalization if the patient is deemed a threat to themselves or others, according to the Welfare and Institutions Code . . . 

The trend is not unique to Lafayette, he said, as Boulder County and state mental health numbers have painted a similar picture in recent years.

A total of 52 suicides were reported throughout Boulder County in 2010, according to data provided by the Boulder County Coroner’s Office — an increase from 39 reported suicides in 2001.

In 2015, the most recent available numbers, 67 suicides were reported in Boulder County, the majority of which were middle-aged males.

A report released last year from the Colorado Health Foundation found that the state’s suicide rate — one of the highest in the country — had continued upward with 19.4 suicides per 100,000 residents in 2014. That marked an increase from 16.5 suicides per 100,000 residents in 2007.

The 2016 study found that 470,000 Coloradans are struggling with mental health issues.


In the past, I’ve struggled with Clinical Depression; I’m happy to report that’s NOT been the case for many years now. NO credit at all goes to the mental health industry, which seems to me just as focused on $$$ as the homeless shelter / services providers.

This upward trend in suicide underscores how utterly bogus all of the (self-reported) surveys really are. You know, the ones the media touts frequently that claim this state — and Boulder in particular — are among the Most Happy, Most Fit, Smartest, Most Affluent, etc.  All this patting-ourselves-on-the-back bull**** does is increase the feeling of isolation for those suffering depression: “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I fit in with the rest of these happy, healthy, bright, and upper class people? It’s no use . . .”

Sadly, you had one asinine remark near the end of the DC’s article:

“We have certainly noticed an increased need for mental health support,” Suzanne Crawford, chief executive for Lafayette’s Sister Carmen Community Center, said Monday. “People are very stressed out and people are living in fear in our community for a lot of different reasons.”

While Sister Carmen usually refers those in crisis to other local centers, Crawford said, the rise in mental health illnesses among the organization’s visitors is distinct. It’s an illness, she says, that may have some clear symptoms born in recent months.

“There’s been a lot of fear since the election regarding what the new administration is going to do or not do,” she said. (Emphasis is mine — MRW) “Additionally, housing costs have skyrocketed and many renters are starting to be forced to move out of the area.”

Suzanne Crawford, you’re the hands-down winner of this month’s Boulder Bubble Booby Prize. Trump ain’t got a darn thing to do with any mental health crisis in Colorado — and SHAME, SHAME on you for exploiting paranoia for political purposes!


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