Comments about ‘Utahns think about suicide more than other Americans, study shows’

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Published: Friday, Oct. 21 2011 6:00 p.m. MDT

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hi, UT

"A new study, The Happiest American States, reveals Utah, Hawaii, Wyoming, Colorado and Minnesota top the list of happiest states in the nation, according to LifeScience.com"

I suppose Utahns are more inclined to be either happy OR depressed, with fewer in the middle. Which are you?

South Jordan, UT

So Utahn's are well above average in suicidal thoughts but right on average in actual suicides. Sounds funky to me back to the drawing board. Or maybe more Utahns were honest in their answers.

Loved how the article really sensationalized it especially with the picture that shows only Utah and not Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado or Nevada for a better regional comparison.

Springville, UT

This is disturbing. There is something in the culture here. The difference between Utah and the rest of the country is dramatic.


People can either choose to be happy, or choose to be depressed and suicidal. Circumstances may affect things, but in the end, only you can choose your mood.

Ricardo Carvalho
Provo, UT

Maybe this finding has more to do with Westerners being more willing to reveal their feelings than those from the East or South. The suicide rate for Utah is not statistically different than the national average but the rate of positive response on suicidal thoughts is significantly higher. To me, that suggests either a difference in being willing to take action on intent or a difference in the way we answer questions with a social desirability angle.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

I can only imagine how many comments will be posted blaming, referencing, or simply hinting at blaming the LDS Church in some form or another.

In response I would mention an article published earlier this year, regarding Utah being No. 1 in online porn subscriptions. The problem is that data if not understood properly, can be twisted to suggest something not factual. A later Deseret News article responded to this study by showing reasons such as a higher interested in computers here, and other factors the study ignored.

In regards to the suicide data gathered, I would state two problems:

1) It could mean that more Utahn's answer honestly, and we're actually low in comparison to other states. It could mean that Utahn's are more honest with themselves in not denying it, yet others have just as much. It could mean lots of things but I'll end here as my point is made.

2) All statistics, or data, is built off of inductive reasoning, which is only PROBABLE, not provable. Surveying 1000 people in REALITY says nothing about everyone else.

I make point 2 ALL the time, yet people still make claims with empty logic promoting their agenda.

Bruce T. Forbes
Kearns, UT

Like any survey or report, we would need to know a lot more about how the information was gathered and compiled. What it says to me, however, is that Uthans are far more honest than the average and more willing to seek help. These are both good traits!

Salt Lake City, UT

Well I cannot blame them for the way the State is run and all them liquir laws and all.

Salt Lake City, UT

I believe that most of the posters here who say the survey is flawed would probably be less critical if the survey had shown a low percentage of people with suicidal thoughts. I don't see why everyone assumes Utahn's are simply being more honest. Let's consider the fact that young people in Utah commit suicide at a higher rate than the average American youth. Also, Utah does have a pretty high suicide rate in general, ranging up to 10% over the past few years. Let's not live in denial to satisfy a self-image.

Kearns, UT

It doesn't matter how we compare to other states, if we are more honest in our answers than others, or what the cause of such thoughts are--the reality is we have a problem. Those numbers are way too high. Why aren't each one of us asking questions about what we can do to decrease those numbers? For me, I think it comes down to what I can do to be a better friend and neighbor. What can I do to make others' burdens a little bit lighter? What can I do to make people feel welcome and happy in this state? Am I able to do something to give a little bit of hope to somebody who seems to have lost it?

Are we going to stick our heads in the ground and deny that there is a problem, or are we going to step up and be a part of a solution?

Rexburg, ID

There may be another factor here, such as the higher than average birth rate could equal higher than average postpartum depression, and therefore higher than average suicidal thoughts. I also suspect new mothers who have suicidal thoughts are much less likely to act on those thoughts, hence the discrepancy of thoughts vs actions.

Having said this, LDS should not defensively dismiss potential religious factors. Not saying we need more grace in our theology, but we could use heavy doses of slowing down, lightening up, and ceasing to treat the road to heaven as the pursuit of a competitive job promotion.

Manti, UT

Johnson72 Oh yeah, liquor is the cure of all ills. Isn't alcohol said to be a depressant? Maybe there are a lot of closet drinkers? You are funny

South Jordan, UT

Wow, a poll that actually reads peoples minds! The results? Utah has far the most serious mental health issue, worse than the rest of the nation, because of thoughts?


I was not interviewed. Who was? Who was behind this Poll? How large a sample? what was used to determine the sample? Mental Health clients or the medicaid population?

Was there an underlying reason that the pollsters wanted Utah to look bad? Do the Pollsters want to scare folks who might vote for Mitt, or John?

This is Not News, It is Propaganda, masquerading as news. How about the Deseret news find out more information on this Poll, (How it was conducted, the demographic of those polled in each State) And then report a real news story!

I am tired of the subtle Propaganda against my religious beliefs!

Council Bluffs, IA

Im not dismissing potential religious factors. But I see no data in this study on religious affiliation or practice. I would posit that the suicidal ideation referred
to in this study is, by and far, amongst non LDS and other persons of faith. When one
is depressed seeing happy people often increases that depression and, by and large, people of faith, especially Mormons, are a very happy lot.

no fit in SG
St.George, Utah

This is a beautiful state, lots of lovely scenery, fairly clean air, not so crowded....
But when an individual cannot walk their dog, or go to the gym without being asked "if they are LDS and what ward do they live in", it tends to get rather annoying,
Don't think it sends one to the extremes of suicide, but gives you an idea of how this place works.

PA Rock Man
Allentown, PA


Before you go off and call this study propaganda, you should click on the link in the story and read the actual study which lays out the researchers' methodology, assumptions, etc. This was a nationwide study, not something directed at Utah or Mormons or Mitt Romney. Please calm down. Also, statistics teaches us that a large diverse sample size can provide results representative of the entire population, so the researchers don't need to interview every person such as yourself in order understand the behavior of the entire population.

I grew up in Utah and hope to move back there someday, but I must say that the results of the study are not necessarily shocking to me. There is a tremendous amount of cultural pressure amongst Utah Mormons. It doesn't come from the actual church, per se, but it part of the culture of Utah Mormonism. It a pressure to constantly appear religiously perfect, financially successfully, and physically beautiful. I am not saying that these cultural pressures are definitely the cause for the higher percentage of suicidal thoughts, but it is a hypothesis that should not be dismissed without investigation.

In Arizona
Mesa, AZ

Why are you bringing religion, especially a specific religion, into this? To all the LDS out there, it's not always about you.

Beaverton, OR

This study is also flawed as the region for the NW includes California, according to the map. In the NW, where I live, depression is very, very high due to the overcast skies, and suicides run rampant here.

Beaverton, OR

Another thought: There is a certain "perfectionism" that is prevalent in Utah that is not discernable in other states.

Part of the issue is that people need to learn how to relax, and not be so wound up. It's ok not to be in frantic mode all the time, but to enjoy one's life along the way.

Orem, Utah

There are more Mormons per capita in Utah than any other state. That should give some kind of clue. Membership CAN be daunting for some members.

Just ONE example (there are many others), gays who don't want their family, friends, or ward members to know they are because of the church's stance on homosexuality.

What this tells me, if it's true that Utah Mormons are skewing the state's stats, is that the church needs to be more aware of how its members are feeling about their place in it.

Just a thought. Not even sure myself if there's truth to it. But thought I'd put it out there.

Kinda does explain, though, why there's more thinking about it but not the same percentage doing it (suicide), if you think about how Mormonism works for individuals.

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