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Opinion: Youth suicide rates unacceptable

DENVER - Tick-tock. Tick-tock. The fateful crocodile that has swallowed the clock in “Peter Pan” has found me and is in hot pursuit. I am beleaguered by the ticking clock, minute by minute, hour by hour, then tolling to signal another young suicide. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

Annual estimates of suicide attempts among young people, ages 15 to 24, surpass 1 million in the United States. These estimates correspond to an average of one attempt every three minutes, 500 hundred attempts daily and a completed suicide every 90 minutes.  This is not a low base rate behavior.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, more Coloradans died by suicide in 2012 than ever before. The state’s youth suicide death toll has been climbing for the past decade, giving Colorado one of the highest suicide rates in the nation.  And Mesa County, year after year, decade after decade, has one of the world’s leading suicide base rates per 100,000 population when compared to perennial leaders Japan and South Korea.

The subject of youth suicide is relentless and anxiety provoking. 

Read more of Dr. Russell Copelan's article in Solutions.


January 7, 2014 | By rmbarber | Category: Mental Health Intervention

District News

graduates standing in line outside, smiling

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Graduation rates in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) continue to climb. Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) shows the on-time, four-year graduation rate is now 90.4 percent.

DCSD students also made an impressive showing at graduation. The class of 2017 earned more than $82 million in scholarships.

DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

Five female students standing on stage smiling and laughing at the awards ceremony

The top two-percent of female athletes in Douglas County School District (DCSD) were honored at the annual Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon last week at Chaparral High School. This year represented the 30th national celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day, created to encourage and promote the participation of girls in athletics. The girls who were honored were selected by their school’s coaches, athletic directors and principals for their outstanding achievements.

Superintendent Search text based logo

Working through the recent winter break, the Douglas County School District Board of Education has kicked off its search for DCSD’s next permanent superintendent. Following a thorough vetting of potential search firms, Ray & Associates (no relation to Board Director David Ray) has been hired to conduct the national search. The cost of the firm, excluding travel expenses, is $40,000. The money will come from the school board's budget, which is used for costs such as legal expenses and conferences.