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Report: Suicide tips rise 4% in Colorado last school year

September 30, 2020 GMT

DENVER (AP) — A suicide prevention program in Colorado has released an annual report showing that the number of reported potential suicides increased by 4% during the last academic year.

The Safe2Tell program recorded 3,821 reports about students at risk of suicide, up from 3,668 reports during the 2018-19 school year, The Denver Post reported.

The Tuesday report shows that in about 35% of those cases, students were sent to counseling either in school or with a mental health professional.

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The Safe2Tell program, led by Director Essi Ellis, is a statewide anonymous tip line for students to report concerning behavior. It was originally designed to address youth violence in the state, but has been used to report students with a potential risk of suicide.

Overall, the number of reports to the state program during the 2019-2020 school year declined by 7% to 20,822 when students were transitioning to remote learning as a result of the pandemic.

The tips can have multiple outcomes, including a welfare check, parents being notified and mental health counseling.

The program previously only provided additional information about responses by detailing the number of self-reported mental-health tips that were transferred to Colorado Crisis Services. The data about what happens after reports from the program are received was not previously made public.

Attorney general spokesman Lawrence Pacheco previously told The Post that local authorities “are not required to report this information to Safe2Tell, and the limited information we have from those agencies that do report is general, incomplete and not useful to gain a broader understanding of outcomes.”

Pacheco has since said that Safe2Tell has hired a data analyst in mid-2019, and is now able to provide a more detailed summary in its reports.

The data shows that at least 2,052 reports resulted in welfare checks, 2,803 reports resulted in parents being notified and 1,334 reports resulted in a student being sent to counseling.