Staggering Increase in Safe2Tell Suicide-Related Calls

Safe2Tell phone number and logo.


Safe2Tell phone number and logo.

Viviana Gonzalez, Rookie Writer

In recent years, Colorado’s Safe2Tell program has noticed a staggering increase in suicide rates.

Though the total amount of all reports calculated in a year have as a whole increased, this is a concern because suicide-related reports have multiplied by four in the past three years. Suicide is now the leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 and 24 in the state of Colorado.

Safe2Tell began in Colorado after the shooting in Columbine. It gained more popularity from other states after the high school in Parkland, Florida had a mass shooting.
In 2004, the hotline had just received 102 total reports. Last school year from 2017-2018 they received 16,000 total reports, so over the years it’s definitively proved to be effective. In the school year of 2011-2012 only 307 reports related to suicide were made compared to the 2,786 that were reported just this last school year.

In the 2014-2015 school year they received 673 suicide-related reports. In these past two months of August and September, they have already recorded 432 suicide-related reports. In these two months, they’ve received about two thirds of the suicide reports they had for the entire year between 2014-2015.

Every year the total reports and suicide related reports increase, what will the new number for this year be if these first two months the number of reports have already increased by 76?

It’d be impossible to pinpoint the reason for an increase in suicide but according to Kevin Carroll, chief of student success for Jefferson County Public Schools, “In general, I would say that social media created some really complicated things for just people, kids especially.” Social media influences kids greatly and at one point suicide and depression was something everyone joked about, and it still kind of is. Even when joking these ideas still get into a kids mind though and it becomes something they’ll genuinely think about more often. An issue in social media is that those who see cyber bullying don’t take it serious when it’s towards someone else, like it just doesn’t count but these things can still affect people. Another issue is how many things people see online that can cause them to spiral into some kind of depression or self hate.

Schools need to be more active in helping the younger generation stop bullying, and in regards to parents, they should be monitoring their kids more closely if they do have social media, including what they say or what they see. For the 13-24 year olds in these statistics, they need to be told that it’s okay to reach out and to get help. Janice Bleckley, the social worker at wheat Ridge, said she has noticed an increase in the Safe2Tell calls they have received this year. Here at wheat Ridge we have a program called Sources of Strength and as I spoke to Bleckley she let me know that from the 12th-16th of November it will be Sources of Strength week. Everyday there will be a new strength we will be focused on throughout the day as a whole. Sources of Strength doesn’t just focus on suicide prevention but they focus on your strengths to get you to think more positively.

If you or anyone you know struggles with suicidal thoughts, depression, or you just need help please, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone. The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. You can reach out to Safe2Tell to report things like alcohol use, drug use, vandalism, possession of weapons, sexual assault, school complaints, suicide threats, depression, and many more. You can contact them at 1-877-542-7233.