Business play a role in suicide prevention efforts

Sarah Gray
Sarah Gray

Mesa County Public Health joined with the Mesa County coroner and Mesa County Suicide Prevention Coalition to release an annual report on suicide. 

The group collects and analyzes data to understand trends and implement prevention activities.

One of the key findings of the report is that people who died by suicide in 2021 were more likely to be affected by multiple types of stressors at the time of their deaths. Stressors include financial, legal and health challenges as well as challenges with relationships. Not feeling economically stable leads to financial stress, for example, one of the risk factors that can be addressed.

The report also noted that over the last three years, the percentage of adults in Mesa County who reported regular feelings of isolation had steadily increased. For 2021, the proportion climbed above 30 percent. 

While it’s crucial to have resources in place to help people in a moment of crisis, it’s also important to address the issues that contributed to the situation. 

For businesses, the goal should be to foster a work environment in which employees can openly discuss mental health and access resources they need to reduce their risk factors. In addition, the workplace is connected to overall well-being. When people feel connected to others — whether it’s at work, in their neighborhoods or churches — it reduces the risk of suicide.

Innovative programs are under way in Mesa County involving local businesses as well as government, health care and nonprofit organizations.

The Mesa County Suicide Prevention Coalition advises workplaces about policies that help people feel included. Gun and pawn shops participate in the Gun Shop Project, which provides information about suicide risk and distributes gun locks to encourage safe storage of firearms. Easy access to lethal means, like firearms, can be a risk factor for suicide for people who’re struggling. The goal of the Gun Shop Project is to put time and distance between a suicidal person and gun.

Other businesses also can join in suicide prevention efforts. Education and awareness are key to making sure people who are at risk of suicide get the help they need. Free training available in Mesa County, including in-person and online options. 

Mental Health First Aid provides an eight-hour course that teaches people how to identify and respond to someone experiencing mental health challenges. QPR training teaches people to question, persuade and refer.
A one-hour course covering suicide intervention skills offers a lunch and learn opportunity for businesses.

To register or obtain more information about the courses, send an email to 

By taking advantage of free training, you could make a difference in the life of someone experiencing a suicidal crisis. 

Help is always available. If you or someone you know is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or text CO to 741741.

Sarah Gray is a communication specialist with Mesa County Public Health. For additional information, call 248-6900 or visit