Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention
While statistics vary across counties in western Colorado, youth suicide and substance use continue to rank higher than many counties in our state, and access to resources in our rural communities remains a challenge for youth and families. Mesa County, home to the largest school district in the seven counties we serve, continues to struggle with higher than state and national averages for suicide attempts, ideation, and substance use.
Our Community Foundation funds many efforts in the major counties we serve to address the dual challenges of suicide and substance use among youth, to include:
Social Worlds and Youth Well Being
This project began with seed funding from the Western Colorado Community Foundation awarded in 2019 to Anna S. Mueller, Principal Investigator (PI) and Sarah Diefendorf (Co-PI). In August 2021, the researchers were awarded approximately $1.2 million from the National Institutes of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of our funding agencies.
The Social Worlds & Youth Wellbeing Study aims to advance understanding of how schools can effectively and efficiently work to prevent suicide and respond to suicide losses. The study recognizes that many schools face resource scarcity and that many existing suicide prevention strategies are costly (in terms of money, staff, and time). School staff need information that they can easily use to maximize existing resources and strengths to support all aspects of learner’s development into happy, healthy, educated adults. The researchers approach this work as a partnership with school districts and schools, where knowledge and action steps are identified and co-produced to help keep kids as safe and happy as possible.
Working with five high schools and two middle schools in Mesa County, he goals of the study include:
- Understanding how schools work to prevent suicide and support student well-being;
- Identify elements that impede or enhance multi-tiered suicide prevention strategies in schools and their districts;
- Leverage this knowledge to develop sustainable, effective, and equitable strategies schools can use to prevent suicide among youth.
Monthly participation with these groups to identiry and support local solutions aimed at substance abuse and suicide prevention for youth in Mesa County.
Colorado National Collaboration/Mesa County Suicide Prevention Task Force is a partnership of professionals, organizations and community members working on community-based strategies to prevent suicides in Mesa County and working toward the goal of reducing suicides by 20% by 2024.
Mesa County Opioid Response Group is a community collaboration of partner organizations who provide community trainings and substance abuse recovery support.
Region 13 Opioid Crisis Recovery Funds Steering Committee
Resources: Explore local, state, and national reports and resources (I have to curate the list but there’s a start below – I think I want the link to go in both sections but to the same list of orgs and programs)