May 27, 2024

Rocky Daily News

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Rural Colorado’s “cowboy up” culture has led to high suicide rates

1 min read

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San Luis Valley cattle rancher George Whitten was halfway through a mental health workshop when he let himself tally up a figure he had never wanted to know — the number of people in his life who had died by suicide. 

It was eight. 

“You just sort of file that away in a gray box, a place in your mind that it’s there, but it’s not something you want to revisit,” said Whitten, who is 71 and runs 150 cows on land outside Saguache that has been in his family for 140 years. “There’s still a lot there that I really haven’t unpacked.” 

All eight of those relatives and friends were from the rural, agricultural community, starting with Whitten’s cousin, who died at 18 after he was sent from the family’s ranch to Brigham Young University. The young man was…

Jennifer Brown

2024-04-22 04:00:00

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