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Suicide jumps in Utah and quadruples in the nation

Published: Friday, Nov. 9 2012 3:42 p.m. MST

Utah is not immune to the trend of high suicide rates. The Utah Department of Health recorded 456 suicides in 2010, which jumped from 357 in 2006. Early data suggests that in 2011 there were more than 500 suicides in Utah, according to the Associated Press. Recent reports said the poor economy is linked to the rise in suicides.

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Recent analyses of U.S. suicide rates quadrupling in recent years have appeared in news outlets across the nation, just as NECN.com announced that Idaho will be returning its suicide hotline.

Idaho has one of the largest suicide rates at 20 per 100,000 residents as of 2009. The national average is at 12 suicides per 100,000 residents, according to the article.

Utah is not immune to this trend as the Utah Department of Health recorded 456 suicides in 2010, which jumped from 357 in 2006. Early data suggest that in 2011 there will be more than 500 suicides in Utah, according to the Associated Press.

"While there's a tendency to focus on youths, with suicide prevention efforts, it's important not to forget that in the United States, the elderly have one of the highest suicide rates, especially elderly white men," wrote Lois M. Collins of the Deseret News in her article. "It's a little confusing because the attempt rate is higher among youths, but the elderly are more likely to complete a suicide. That trend hasn't changed."

Recent reports indicate the poor economy is linked to the rise in suicides.

"The finding was not unexpected," wrote Benedict Carey of The New York Times in his article. "Suicide rates often spike during economic downturns, and recent studies of rates in Greece, Spain and Italy have found similar trends."

In fact, rates began to quadruple in 2008, right as the United States fell into the beginnings of the recession. Rates from 1997 to 2007 were at 0.12 per 100,000 people but have now pushed up to 0.51 per 100,000 people, according to MSN.

A recent study by the San Francisco Federal Reserve found those that make under $34,000 a year risk a 50 percent chance of suicide, according to Time.

Suicide is the outcome of a mental illness, which comes from major depression and anxiety disorders, which can come as a result of the economy, according to Aaron Reeves of the University of Cambridge and author of a recent study found in The Lancet. The study, which many news outlets have picked up, analyzes how suicide rates have increased since the economic crisis, according to Medical Xpress.

"The fact that countries such as Sweden have been able to prevent suicide rises despite experiencing major recessions reveals opportunities to protect Americans from further risks of suicide during the continued economic downturn," Reeves said in the report, according to Medical Xpress. "There is a clear need to implement policies to promote mental health resilience during the ongoing recession."

Data from CDC suggests intimate partner problems and physical health problems outweigh those that commit suicide over financial and job problems.

"We’re really hoping to prevent attempts by getting people hooked up with resources before they reach that point," said John Reusser, director of the soon-to-open Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline. The hotline was to open Nov. 12, but was delayed because of Hurricane Sandy effecting the Manhattan-based organization that would grant the Idaho hotline accreditation.

Email: ehong@desnews.com Twitter: @erinhong

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