Editor: As pediatricians working in Aurora, we are seeing an unprecedented number of teenagers attempting suicide.
We have found ourselves caring for multiple patients each week who have attempted to end their lives. It is disheartening to be caring for them after a suicide attempt knowing this could have been prevented had they been connected to mental health services sooner. Most people are shocked to learn that suicide is now the leading cause of death for Colorado children over age 10, and among children and youth, Arapahoe County has the highest rate of students considering attempting suicide.
With COVID, the past year and half have been especially hard for teenagers and families because of the need for social distancing. Outpatient counseling services have been crucial in teaching teenagers how to cope with these new challenges, however access to such services is limited. We are urging the Aurora City Council to invest $30 million over three years from the American Rescue Plan in mental health prevention and treatment services; substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery programs; and suicide prevention programs.
—Shweta Bhatia and Camille Chun, via [email protected]