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Working together to prevent suicide in Douglas County

Board of County Commissioners invest $1.5 million in local suicide prevention work

Posted on July 25, 2023 2023News and Events


We’ve all been affected by loss due to suicide. Together, that’s changing in Douglas County.

The Board of Douglas County Commissioners today announced seven beneficiaries of suicide prevention grants, totaling a $1.37 million investment in suicide prevention in Douglas County over the next three years.

Beneficiaries include: The Aspen Effect, Castle Rock Pride, The Happy Crew, the 18th Judicial District Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC), National Alliance on Mental Illness Arapahoe/Douglas Counties (NAMI ADCO), Second Wind Fund, and You are Not Alone Mom 2 Mom (YANA M2M). Additional grant funding was allocated to the Dads of Castle Rock for a total of $1.5 million.

“Working together on this critical issue is so important. Between 2016 and 202o, Douglas County had 273 suicide deaths and 1,903 individuals seen in the emergency department for suicide attempts or self-harm,” said Commissioner Lora Thomas. “That’s thousands of lives affected by suicide in just five years. We know from success on previous efforts that working together and data-based practices for prevention will no-doubt save lives.”

In 2017, the Douglas County Mental Health Initiative, in coordination with law enforcement partners, began Community Response Teams to address mental health needs in the community. Building on the success of these teams, the Board in September 2022 dedicated $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to grants for local organizations’ innovative work within suicide prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery. A call for proposals went out in January 2023, resulting in 12 proposals.

Proposals covered an array of services and approaches, including animal-assisted mentoring, youth leadership development, post-partum peer support, and direct treatment programs – all that spanned the spectrum from prevention to intervention and recovery. The County convened a grant review committee with representatives from the County, Douglas County Health Department, Douglas County School District, Centura Health and AllHealth Network to evaluate and score each application, which resulted in the recommendation to fund seven proposals for $1.37 million. The funding will be distributed over three years, based on performance.

Data has indicated suicide disproportionally affects middle aged men. As a result, the Board is also allocating $127,830 of the original $1.5 million to programs for men and veterans, including a grant to Dads of Castle Rock for Mental Health First Aid Training.

Established in 2014, the Douglas County Mental Health Initiative has convened more than 50 partner organizations to improve the overall mental health of Douglas County, including suicide prevention. In 2021, the County’s Public Health Improvement Plan – a first step in launching the Douglas County Health Department – reconfirmed mental and behavioral health as one of the top three health needs in Douglas County.

Douglas County received $68.2 million in ARPA funding. Learn more about this and other ARPA funding allocations online.

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