William James argued that a person who hasn't contemplated suicide couldn't consider himself truly educated. But, as this week's cover story details, beginning on page 13, suicide's tragedy takes a horrific toll, including for surviving friends and family. With more people dying at their own hand each year than from murder and traffic accidents combined, suicide has reached epidemic proportions in El Paso County.
What should we do to address escalating suicide rates? Bring the subject up in the schools. There's sex ed class and what-you're-going-to-do-after-high-school class, but nobody talks about suicide.
Do you know anyone who's considered suicide? My friend's godmother hung herself in the barn when she learned her husband of 35 years was having an affair.
What would you say to someone whom you knew was contemplating suicide? Life is a roller coaster. No matter how down things are now, there'll be an upswing sooner or later.
Why is suicide so common in El Paso County? Maybe it's the cost of living. People here can't find jobs that pay enough to cover all the bills.
Have you ever seriously considered suicide? Never. If I'm going to burn in hell, it ain't going to be from blowing my own head off.
Do you know anyone who committed suicide? My best friend of 20 years was on medication but stopped taking it and started drinking instead. He was driving drunk and got in an accident that made a 12-year-old girl quadriplegic. At 22, he was still living with his mom. He couldn't cope. He finally just killed himself.
Everest Tibet employee Downtown
Why is this area's suicide rate so high? Parents aren't connecting with their kids because they're making work and money a higher priority than the family unit.
Have you ever contemplated suicide? I've had some hard times, but this world's too beautiful to leave.
What would you tell a person considering suicide? Ease up on the introspection and work on the problem. Things always get better eventually.
UCCS student Park Hill
What accounts for our high rate of suicide? The cost of living is going through the roof. I can barely afford anything around here any more. We need to look at local wage scales.
Did you ever consider suicide? Every time I thought about what it would do to others -- my kids, say, or my parents -- I pulled back.
What could be done to lower suicide rates? Help low-income people afford medication. I have a sister-in-law who can't afford the medicine, and she'd benefit greatly from it
-- Bob Campbell