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Standing 5'10", with dark wavy hair, Tricia was a beacon of athleticism and fun. She had what seemed like a full life as a bike racer, coach, and massage therapist. Intensely extroverted, she was a wellspring of enthusiasm. She wore outrageously colored pants and tutus on her rides.

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When the girls rocked out to Taylor Swift, Tricia was the first to throw glitter all over the place. When they were at a restaurant and a live band struck up, she would make them get up and dance. The girls worshipped her. Aleah was a year-old high school freshman last November when she found out that Tricia Shadell had died by suicide the evening before.

Tricia had posted a cryptic message on Facebook just before she died, and word quickly spread through the small town.

IN THE SUICIDE MOUNTAINS. Signed | John Gardner | 1st Edition

Aleah is small for her age and reserved, her heart-shaped face framed by an unruly halo of light-brown curls. Shocked and numb, Aleah sat with her mom, her wide eyes beginning to tear up. Later that day, Aleah met up with her mountain biking friends. They were confused, angry, sad.

How could Trish have killed herself? She always seemed so happy. Get Help If you or someone you know is considering harming themselves, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Friends gathered silently and cried in the flickering gloom. For weeks, it was as if no one in the outdoor community quite knew what to do with their feelings—guilt, devastation, anger, disbelief. But the worst was the concern for the children who knew Tricia. To have this happen, they questioned everything.

The year before, 13 people took their own lives; in , 12 did.

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Locals are desperate for answers, but there are few discernible patterns to the deaths over the past few years. They were mostly Caucasian, but also included Hispanic, Native American, and Asian people; men, women, and boys; an elementary school teacher, a construction worker, a retiree, an eighth-grader. They ranged in age from 12 to Suicide has become a national concern. A June report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that suicide rates rose by more than 30 percent in half of all states since The rates in these communities may not be consistently higher than the surrounding rural areas, but the incongruity of suicide in a vacation paradise can be jarring.

As a result, the phenomenon has garnered media attention over the years as reporters grapple with the reasons behind these spikes. Thompson died by suicide in , had jumped to three times the national rate and two times the state rate. In , National Geographic reported on the suicide death of a year-old Telluride ski bum , one of three that unfolded in the county over just two weeks in And early this year, Mountain Town News reported on the rise in suicides in Vail and surrounding Eagle County : 15 in , more than three times the national average.

Theories abound as to why these towns are affected, though they remain speculation. Like Durango, these are places where the cost of living is high, good jobs are scarce, and people are financially stressed. There are fewer mental health resources than one would find in a big city. Others blame the play-hard, party-hard vibe in idyllic mountain towns that can lead to substance abuse a risk factor for suicide , as well as social media, the culture of relentless athletic one-upmanship, and the obsessive pursuit of fun.

During previous suicide clusters in the United States, much has been made about the correlation between altitude and suicide found around the world, including Sardinia, Turkey, Ecuador, and South Korea. Some researchers theorize that lower levels of oxygen at altitude may result in lower serotonin levels, a condition associated with suicide, and higher levels of dopamine, linked with reward centers of the brain and risk-taking behavior.

Others believe that in the United States, the correlation is related to cultural factors, including easier access to guns and the ingrained value of self-reliance, which can lead to isolation and a reluctance to get help. Ultimately, however, no one knows why a suicide cluster pops up here and not in a similar place at the same time. Part of it is simply that the phenomenon feeds on itself—in other words, suicide can be contagious. Research suggests that the friends and family bereaved by suicide—in comparison to someone who died of sudden natural causes—have a 65 percent increased risk of taking their own lives.

Children who have lost a parent to suicide are three times more likely to take their own lives. This is not unique to Durango in any way.

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I have lived in Durango for 13 years. One of the reasons this feels so strange and upsetting to residents, including me, is that many of us adore this town. The idea that people are suffering deeply right around me makes me feel guilty and appalled at my own obliviousness. The last time I saw Tricia, it was at a party late last summer celebrating the opening of a new bike shop.

She was back in town after a six-month stint in Crested Butte, where she had been recuperating after a messy divorce. She had always been a classic free spirit, flitting off on trips and chasing shiny new ideas. At age 16, Tricia left her hometown of Memphis to become a climbing bum in Yosemite, eventually becoming a massage therapist and yoga instructor. Over the years, she tried living in a tepee, opening a flower shop, and fostering puppies.

Her friends described her as a yes-to-adventure person and full of surprises. That night at the party, Tricia was lightly buzzed and seemed distracted, but she always commanded a presence. As we both poured beers at the keg, I asked her how she was. Tricia stopped and looked at me with her glossy brown doe eyes. Like other towns that have experienced suicide clusters, Durango has mobilized, but solutions to an issue this complex take a long time to implement and longer to reap results.

One reason for optimism is that Durango is in a position to learn from communities that have experienced these clusters before and have taken action. Last May, after a series of suicides of both students and staff members at the Durango schools, San Juan Basin Public Health organized a suicide-prevention forum.

They expected about to people to show up. In the two weeks before the event, two more people took their lives in Durango, including a year-old. More than people turned up at the summit. We all can do our part. Be direct and compassionate. Experts believe that up to 80 percent of suicidal people give signs, such as withdrawing from loved ones or favorite activities or sleeping too much or too little.

On a broader scale, one of the biggest challenges communities face is a lack of coordination among civic institutions, mental health organizations, and nonprofits, a problem that can result in people falling through the cracks. The Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention, along with a consortium of national nonprofits and other organizations, also identified La Plata County and five others as study areas for a comprehensive prevention initiative.

The goal is to develop a plan that would reduce suicide by 20 percent across the state by and could be emulated in other areas across the country. In the suicide mountains decklib TinyCat.

Toggle Dropdown Advanced Search. In the suicide mountains by John Gardner Ebook, Call number kindle. Collection ebook. Tags fairy-tale-fable , 20th C , American literature. Description Unable to find a place for themselves in society, a young woman, a dwarf, and a prince journey to the mountains intent on doing away with themselves.

In The Suicide Mountains

Physical description p. Subjects Fairy Tales. Genres Fantasy.