A recent spate of suspected suicides has prompted public officials to urge those who need help to seek out mental health resources.

Officials are also attempting to address some information circulating in the public about two recent deaths, which they say is not entirely accurate.

On Nov. 19, a mail carrier noticed a man hanging from a tree in the 59000 block of Highway 90, Montrose County Sheriff Gene Lillard said. The week prior, a man died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot at the Black Canyon’s North Rim, Lillard also said.

“We’ve had a rash of them (suicides),” he said. “There are people being despondent with the upcoming holidays, and the fact of COVID. There’s a lot of different factors.” (Lillard was not commenting on the individual motive behind any specific suicide.)

The Montrose Police Department is investigating a death at Recla-Metals on South Maple Avenue that occurred Nov. 15. The manner in which the victim, a man in his 20s, died, hasn’t been confirmed, Montrose Police Cmdr. Tim Cox said.

The Recla-Metals death is part of an active investigation, Cox said, stressing there is no public safety concern and asking those who are spreading rumors about it to stop.

“They are not accurate or true. For the family’s sake, we want to dispel these rumors and let the family grieve during this time. There is nothing suspicious at this time. There is no foul play suspected,” he said. “ … There’s no risk to our community at this point.”

Cox declined at this time to say how the man died, because the investigator assigned to the case was on leave and he wanted to confer with that person.

The Highway 90 death brought sheriff’s investigators to a home, which Lillard said belongs to people who knew the deceased. The man was hanging in a spruce tree, but was obscured from northbound traffic by the branches of another tree until a mail carrier saw him and called for help.

Lillard said the deceased, who was in his 40s, had been there for a few hours at most and that paramedics attempted to get a pulse on him, but could not.

He and Cox urged anyone who is inclined to self-harm to instead seek help.

“There is the Center for Mental Health, its crisis walk-in center, family, friends. We hate to see things like this happen. Mental health is a major issue,” Lillard said.

“My heart goes out to individuals and families that are dealing with that. Please, reach out to talk to somebody,” said Cox.

The Center for Mental’s crisis walk-in center is at 300 N. Cascade Ave. and is open 24/7. The Center’s crisis line is 970-252-6220. Do not hesitate to call 911 if you or someone else is at risk of immediate harm.

You can also call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 to speak with a trained professional.

Students can use the Safe2Tell line or website to report threats and concerning behavior in school, or among classmates. The number is 1-877-542-7233 and the website is safe2tell.org.

The Center for Mental Health offers standing behavioral health services at its regular office on Miami Road during business hours, as well. The police department and sheriff’s office operate a co-responder program with the Center, through which a trained clinician can be dispatched along with an officer to calls that involve behavioral health issues.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

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