Another painful reminder of need for action on gun violence, culturally responsive mental health
Like everyone who calls the Roaring Fork Valley home, Voces Unidas staff and associates were shaken by the news that a 20-year-old from Carbondale was discovered after apparently taking his own life at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park last weekend. Our hearts go out to the family, and we offer our condolences in this time of need.
While we’re grateful that an even larger potential incident never happened, the tragedy of a heavily armed young man taking his own life alongside guns, ammunition and explosives offers a troubling reminder that access to weapons of war is too easy and of the need for more culturally responsive mental and behavioral health services that reach our community. Although his intentions remain unknown, it’s apparent that the existing system failed to reach this young person in time to prevent his disconcerting death.
As a reminder to those in need, Colorado’s Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is always available for support by dialing 988 or linking to https://988lifeline.org.
Colorado’s Latino community has expressed a collective concern over the state’s mental health care system and Voces Unidas continues to advocate for more and better mental health services in rural Colorado in particular. A majority of Latinos (52%) in our 2022 Colorado Latino Policy Agenda survey said they believe fundamental changes are needed to make the mental health care system work better for the Latino community, while another 23% believe the system has too many problems and needs to be rebuilt entirely in order to meet the needs of Latinos.
Latinos in Colorado also are in strong support of banning the type of assault rifles found in this young person’s possession when his body was discovered, with two-thirds of those polled calling for an outright ban on the purchase of assault rifles. Our 2022 poll showed overwhelming, bipartisan support for several other gun safety measures, including mandatory, universal background checks for all firearm sales (85%), a 10-day waiting period to purchase a firearm (75%), and for overall stricter laws covering the sales of guns in Colorado.
While the state did pass some gun safety measures in 2023, we believe legislative efforts continue to fall short and will continue to advocate for additional gun safety measures – as well as funding for more and better mental health services in rural communities – in the forthcoming legislative session.