The article “Saving lives through suicide prevention,” (Aspen Daily News, Sept. 16) provided some inaccurate statistics on suicide in Pitkin County. I would like to correct the data provided in the article. The article states that Pitkin County has an average of about 20 suicides per year which have dropped to four per year in the last few years. Actually Pitkin County has averaged about three suicides per year in the last 10 years, with five occurring in 2010 and 4 in 2011. So there has not been a decrease in recent years.
This is not to say the Aspen Hope Center is not helping many people, it is just that there is no apparent correlation to the number of suicides in Pitkin County and services offered. The Hope Center has helped many people and offered education to the community that did not exist before.
I would also like to say that Colorado West Regional Mental Health Center through the Aspen Counseling Center also offers 24/7 crisis counseling and is the organization that works with us in the emergency department at Aspen Valley Hospital with crisis intervention day and night. Their providers spend many difficult and thankless hours in the ER finding and arranging admission to psychiatric hospitals around the state, an often difficult and laborious process.
We are fortunate to have both organizations in our community.
Dr. J. Stevens Ayers
Chief Coroner/Medical Examiner, Pitkin County
Emergency physician, Aspen Valley Hospital