Finding a solution to teen suicide
Many lives could be saved if parents simply removed the guns from their homes.
Guns are almost always lethal when used to commit suicide. Other means of
committing suicide not as much. The majority of people who unsuccessfully
attempt suicide the first time don't attempt suicide again.
One cause could be standardized testing.
I would like to see the statistics on suicide rates for teens in various
categories. For example, those active in Scout troops, those active in
Priesthood Quorums or church groups, etc. versus those who have no group
affiliation to bolster self-esteem.
@Truth "if parents simply removed the guns from their homes"How about a gun safe instead? Or a trigger lock at a minimum. With gun
ownership comes a responsibility. How refreshing would it be if gun owners were
the first to condemn those who did not take proper precautions concerning
guns.No one under 18 should have unsupervised access to guns. LOCK
up your guns.@worf"One cause could be standardized
testing."I thought we were supposed to stop blaming Bush.
The church could do a LOT to help this.
JoeBlow--try Ross Perot
Clearly Mormonism has not accomished the success its founders hoped for. Nor
what many dedicated parents and social structures invest their lives in. This
is no disparagement on the many good things the religion offers, but it is well
past time to seek better prevention. Don't sugar-coat it or look for a BSA
salvation message.Obviously there are many factors, but Utah has
held the nation's highest suicide rates in all categories since the early
'80's.I hope and pray that Utah's leaders find
solutions. You have my support. Two of my promising LDS cousins took their
lives several years ago. No rhyme or reason, different sides of the family.
One had a temple marriage, was abused by her RM husband, and fell into 3 other
non-LDS marriages with a child from each. Shot herself at age 35. The other was
an accomplished ER nurse, a loving and beautiful aunt, engaged to a wonderful
RM, and had recently taken some medication for a newly diagnosed bi-polar
condition. She uncharacteristically hung herself in the family garage.No guns, no rationale; just tragedy.
Shazandra--we don't live in a perfect world, and the church does not take
away the freedom of choice. It is tragic.
I agree, BrentBot. It would be interesting to see if involvement in positive
programs help keep this tragedy lower.As a former Mormon, I know the
hard work and dedicated effort of church and family that is invested in family
life. But I have been shocked at the high LDS suicide rate in Utah for many
years now. My large, extended LDS family live in Utah and Idaho, and many are
in the medical field. Their reports of this epidemic are alarming, yet
awareness has not lowered the problem significantly.I would
personally be interested in what the ratio of LDS:Evangelical suicides is. It
may not be a factor, but my last 30 years as a born-again Christian has exposed
me to a far happier, more secure group of both adults and teens. There is less
pressure to suceed, perform or conform that is immediately evident when you exit
intense, "active" LDS life.I do not want to conjur up faux
statistics or reasons. It is just a search to see if there any helpful programs
or de-programming that might offer insights.
Dear Truthseekeer, I must tell you that your statement "The majority of
people who unsuccessfully attempt suicide the first time don't attempt
suicide again", is Horrible inaccurate. In fact the opposite is true. If a
person has tried once, the chances of a repeat attempt are increased
dramatically. In fact, when teaching suicide prevention, it is taught that
previous attempts are an increased risk factor.
I grew up in a happy and wonderful Mormon home. I know exactly what the church
offers and I did not blame its teachings or its people per se, Bro Worf.I also attended Ricks and BYU at the height of the drugged 60' and
70's. I know exactly what typical Mormon college kids struggled with. My
campus Bishop took his own life in 1971, a gorgeous, generous man with a
gorgeous, fabulous wife and kids. No one had a clue.I also know the
down-side of the over-achievers AND the under-achievers. I refuse to ignore
facts and constantly look for blame away from any possible source. Save your
lecture and let's pray and work together for solutions in our imperfect
world until The Perfect returns. We all are on the same side in this, and to
our benefit, we all know Jesus is/has the Only answers.
I believe in order to be effective, suicide prevention programs can't just
include the leaders, administrators or the teachers--or even parents, though
they are often more clued in than school officials. I know of one young man who
sought help from his high school administrators for bullying, and was treated as
if he were Dylan Klebold, rather than getting him out of the situation, he was
put back into the classroom where his peers continued to bully him until he
struck a studen and was ousted from the school system. This training
MUST INCLUDE TEENS. More often than not, the ones struggling do so because
administrators don't respond correctly to the situation. They blame the
victims. They don't have the resources to separate or ammeliorate student
relations, and in the end, they only breed distrust and a sense of despair in
the kids seeking help. Often those bullied feel they have no way
out. Administration SHOULD know better, but they don't, and whatever weak
attempts for help, didn't help. PS. This has nothing to do with
the LDS... that's just a troll.
I think the church should tackle this issue head on.Btw. Taking guns away
helps? Does that mean we take away cliffs, and knives, and cars, and rope, and
I'm Mormon, and I'm active. I believe in Christ. I follow
everything.But, the self rightish folks in this church is WAY out of
control.Top to bottom, rich or poor, there are judgmental folks in every
subset of this gospel.The pressure kids feel is causing them to kill
themselves.Is this a sign of weakness, maybe.But judging is nuts
A government survey published in 1989, called Report of the Secretary's
Task Force on Youth Suicide, found that LGBT teens are four times more likely to
try to kill themselves than straight teens. Another study, published in 2011 in
the journal Pediatrics, found that they were five times more likely to attempt
suicide. LGBT teens are also much more likely to suffer from school bullying --
and it is also known from these and other studies that the supportiveness of the
family environment to these LGBT kids can have a strong effect on whether they
try to kill themselves or not.Is it any wonder, then, that a state
which so widely condemns homosexuality should have such a high teen suicide
rate?Of course homosexuality is not by any means the only reason for
kids to kill themselves. But it's an important factor, and it needs to be
considered in any suicide-prevention efforts.Don't condemn
these kids. Love them.
"JoeBlow--try Ross Perot"Not unless you live in Texas. To
get it on a national level, we need to look at NCLB.And, were you making a
joke? You think students commit suicide because of school tests?All
states have standardized tests. Hard to use that as a scapegoat for Utah's
high suicide rate.Maybe, just maybe it is the overbearing pressure
that is thrust upon utah teens concerning Religion.I understand how
strongly many LDS feel about Religion. And I can understand the disappointment
when a child chooses a different religious path (or no religious path at
all).I can also just imagine (and have seen some of it first hand)
the pressure to conform Religiously.One absolutely must look at the
Religious pressure as a possible reason why Utah has higher than normal teen
Everybody pretending that their life is perfect and then judging others is
causing a gap in reality that is making life hard for those people
struggling.I encourage everyone to be more open, honest, and real.
Stop pretending you are so cool and covering up your vulnerabilities. When you
are real others can see that life is hard for everyone and they don't feel
so bad.Also, don't buy into the lies of the media that make you
feel bad about yourself unless you buy their product or look a certain way.
It's a lie.We can all be the solution if we stop pretending to
be better than others.
Suicide has always been among us.We ought to get some independent data
about any spike in the problem.More importantly, we need to get some
independent data about the effectiveness of these programs.And perhaps
most important of all, who seriously believes that our legislators and school
administrators can fix he problem. Our "village" mentality has made us
dependent on an ever-growing government, but we would be hard-pressed to find
that their solutions to our social problems have actually worked.Sometimes
family and community are better than THE STATE.
When my son started pulling his hair out (trichotillomania) we went to a child
psychiatrist and he immediately wanted to drug my child with heavy duty drugs.
He was only 10. This article says "We have a huge gaping hole in the center
of our state where there are zero child psychiatrists." It's been my
experience that a psychologist might be better suited to help our children then
a psychiatrist that wants to prescribe drugs. With drugs their are always side
effects - good and bad - and shouldn't be taken lightly especially when
administering to children. I do give kuods to Mr. Hudnall for all he has done.
@ amazondoc 9:33Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, as usual
people don't want to talk about the elephant in the room.I
regret the immediate association of suicide with "mental illness".
Sometimes the correlation exist some time it doesn't.Many
teenagers feel they are not up to the expectations of their parents or other
significant people in their lives.Many times teenagers (heterosexual
& homosexual) live perfect "normal lives" until their heart gets
broken. Sometimes they do not know how to reconcile a premature sexual encounter
with nothing else than a mortal sin and family and church dissapointment.Regardless the reason, suicide is regrettable and we as the community
needs to attempt to find the Why? and have a good look at ourselves.This subject is painful and doesn't matter what we say or do. When a
suicide takes place we somehow feel we have failed and perhaps we have.
So far, everybody is missing the bigger picture. What this article describes is
a doctor giving asprin to a patient with a brain tumor. Only the outward
symptoms are being treated.Yes bullying is a contributing factor,
but what is going on that has made bullying more socially acceptable.
Shouldn't that behaviour be such that if a parent found out that their
child was engaged in it that the parents would stop it? Why are we allowing the
government to defend our children from the evils of the world when we should be
doing that ourselves? Since when is evil behavior acceptable?Finally, ask yourself this. How can any government legislate changes to
My dear RED ShirtIt takes a village!
So Eliason wants to address this head-on and dump it on school districts. Some
commenters suggest schools, churches, scouting programs, etc., should do more.
But when will parents and families actually start paying attention to their
children and getting involved with their own children? And why do we need
a law when a student talks about or attempts suicide, to inform the parents?
And why do parents think a school district needs to cough-up money when their
kids kills himself on school property?
To "Baccus0902" yes it takes a village, but do you let the village idiot
tell you what is good and what is bad?
This is not a "Utah" problem as much as it is a "Western United
States" problem. Nine of the top 10 (Utah is number 10) are in Western
States, with the highest rates being those with the lowest populations. South
Dakota is in the top 10 and also has a small population.
Re:Slgs5aggieThank you. Yes, one suicide attempt increases the risk
of another suicide attempt. However, fewer than 10 percent of people who
survive even a nearly lethal suicide attempt go on to DIE by suicide
thereafter.In 2010, there were 25 suicide attempts for every one
successful suicide.People who have access to firearms are more
likely to successfully commit suicide. People who live in homes with
guns are not more suicidal than people who live in homes without guns. They do
not have higher rates of depression. They do not have higher rates of drug
abuse. They do not have higher rates of any kind of mental illness nor do they
even have higher rates of thinking about suicide or attempting suicide. What
they do have is a much higher rate of dying in any given attempt.Fewer than 10% of people who kill themselves with guns acquire the gun within
a 2-4 week period before the death. Most of the guns used in firearm suicides
are guns that have been in the home for a long, long time.
JoeBlowHere in Texas, students do get stressed out with these tests. No
joke! Lot's of pressure on them. These tests may have started here, but has
gone federal, and forced on all states. At least with religion, a
person can move away from what the majority wants. With standardized
testing,--there's no escape, and the majority would probably not miss it.
Who are more stressed, acheievrs, or lazy people.That does make a
difference also.People with extreme high expectations, put lots of stress
There is a significant amount of medical literature documenting that
statistically, religiousness *protects* against suicide and suicidal thoughts.
I found this literature in PubMed, an excellent government-maintained database
of academic medical journal articles. One could also search Psychinfo, a
psychological database, but I myself do not have access to it. A similar search
in Proquest Research Library: Social Sciences section, corroborates the results
from PubMed. Pointing fingers at religion or any specific religion won't
solve the problem.@ShazandraAlthough I'm not in agreement
with some of your writings and their implications, I do like your comment, * .
. . let's pray and work together for solutions in our imperfect world until
The Perfect returns. We all are on the same side in this, and to our benefit, we
all know Jesus is/has the Only answers.*I too think suicide is so
tragic that we would do well to lay aside our differences in order to positively
influence teens and protect them from the underlying causes.
Dr. Stirling Hilton, Dept of Statistics, BYU, conducted a study which was
published in The American Journal of Epidemiology, 2001 titled "Suicide
Rates and Religious Commitment in Young Adult Males in Utah," which
stated:"In summary, active LDS males aged 15–34 years are
at decreased risk of suicide compared with their Utah counterparts, both less
active and non-LDS. In addition, active LDS males aged 20–34 years are at
decreased risk of suicide compared with their US counterparts. We believe that
the inverse association between high levels of religiosity and suicide is
relatively unexplored, yet ecologic studies and our own research indicate that
it is real. In fact, since individual data are used and our measure of
religiosity is not self-reported, our findings represent stronger evidence than
previously published research in support of the hypothesis that religious
involvement is protective against suicide."
@Truthseeker --You said: "Dr. Stirling Hilton, Dept of
Statistics, BYU"That's an interesting finding, although
this particular study is a little bit like cancer studies performed by tobacco
companies -- not something to take too seriously. Nonetheless, it's true
that some studies have found a protective effect of belonging to a religious
group.HOWEVER -- this doesn't mean that religion itself is
actually protecting anyone from anything. It could easily just mean that
**belonging to any cohesive group** would provide the same protection. For
instance, belonging to the Boy Scouts might be equally protective -- or any
other group that provides a sense of belonging.That would also help
to explain why non-religious kids have a higher suicide rate in such a highly
religious state as Utah -- because of their sense of ostracism. LDS people in
particular seem very cohesive (I lived in SLC for several years -- I do have
personal experience) and insular -- you're either one of them, or
you're "other". And that sense of "otherness" can be
agonizing for young people.Notice I'm just speculating here.
But it's a good idea to **think** about studies, not just swallow them
Children do not kill themselves necessarily for the same reasons and same
thought process as adults. Often adults plan their suicide for months at a
time. It's easier to intervene in these cases, because their is time to
realize what is going on, or hear their pleas for help and get them help.Children, especially the younger they are, do not typically plan their
deaths months ahead of time. Often it's one exact event that sets things
in motion, and they react to that event by killing themselves. This appears to
be one of those cases. These are incredibly difficult to stop because you
don't have time. It sounds nice in theory to just lock up your gun thus a
child won't get into it. But tweens and teens are not stupid, they know
where the key is, they know how to get into the safe.If you
don't have a gun in your home, that leaves a child who wants to end it with
alternates that are not apt to be as successful. in other words, you remove the
gun, you remove the 100% chance a child that is wanting to end it, will succeed.
Re:amazondocAgree. Dr, Hilton noted in his conclusion that more
study is needed.The study looked at the 551 suicides in Utah for
males aged 15–34 years from 1991 to 1995. "Of these 551 suicides, 273
were linked to an LDS membership record by using the probabilistic linking
program, and 56 were linked to an LDS record by church personnel; therefore, 329
(59.7 percent) linked to an LDS membership record." The researchers
classified victims church activity rates using LDS priesthood ordination
records. Re:nehimommaAgreeSuicide by
firearms has a very high rate of success. It is very risky, reckless and
irresponsible to have unsecured guns in the home--and I myself wouldn't be
confident that a young adult or teen couldn't figure out a way to gain
access to a "secure" firearm. As a parent of 3 boys i made the
calculation just to not have a gun in the house period. They could still enjoy
outings with dad to a shooting range etc. Last post.
@Truthseeker --Yup, I actually read that study myself. I'm a
whiz at Google. ;-)What you posted doesn't contradict a single
thing that I said in my previous comment. Once again, in short -- I agree with
you that membership in a religious group appears to have a protective effect
against suicide. However, that does not prove that religious **belief** or
religion itself has any protective effect at all. It may well turn out that
membership in **any** cohesive group would have the very same effect, including
secular groups.For the rest of my argument, refer to my earlier
To: Shazandra, Bakersfield, CA"Clearly Mormonism has not accomished
the success its founders hoped for."Back off, Shazandra!Who said that Mormon youth are committing suicide in Utah at any rate
higher than the national average?In case you haven't noticed,
or aren't willing to admit, Utah is no longer filled with 'just
Mormons'. Utah, instead, has been literally over-run with people moving in
from other states, many of which, in fact, came from YOUR state.I
try to be patient with naysayers and LDS-antagonists such as yourself but
frankly, sometimes it's tough.How long, Lord, how long?...
@ Baccus0902, Leesburg, VA - My dear RED Shirt, It takes a village!Dear 'Baccus0902' - Wrong!It takes a
"family"! Yes, a mom and a dad, MARRIED to each other and
faithful to their marriage covenants to raise a child successfully.A
@Caravan --You said: "Who said that Mormon youth are committing
suicide in Utah at any rate higher than the national average?"That study published by the BYU professor does, for one.It says,
in part: "the 95 percent confidence intervals for the relative risks of the
less active LDS and nonmembers overlap for all age groups."In
English, this means that only the most active LDS members showed any protective
effect from church membership. The "Eagle Scouts" of the LDS church,
more or less. All other LDS church members showed the very same increased risk
of suicide (Utah compared to the nation) as non-LDS members did.And,
again -- this only means that the most successful members of this large cohesive
group showed the protective effect. You might see the very same effect if you
studied Eagle Scouts, or highly successful members of any other cohesive
group.Sterling C. Hilton et al. Am. J. Epidemiol. (2002) 155 (5):
My religion kept me from killing myself. I'm grateful I had LDS leaders and
more particularly God to answers my prayers and help me through some of the most
confusing and difficult years of my life. I guess I was just lucky when looking
over statistics, but then that's what most people say about miracles--you
just got lucky.
The following review of the literature (though not specific to members of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints) may be helpul in the observed
protection given by religion against suicide. It reviews many other interesting
studies and articles. J Relig Health. 2009 Sep;48(3):332-41. doi:
10.1007/s10943-008-9181-2. Epub 2008 Jul 10.Religion and suicide.Gearing RE, Lizardi D.SourceColumbia University,
School of Social Work, 1255 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, USA.
email@example.comAbstract (or summary)Religion impacts
suicidality. One's degree of religiosity can potentially serve as a
protective factor against suicidal behavior. To accurately assess risk of
suicide, it is imperative to understand the role of religion in suicidality.
PsycINFO and MEDLINE databases were searched for published articles on religion
and suicide between 1980 and 2008. Epidemiological data on suicidality across
four religions, and the influence of religion on suicidality are presented.
Practice guidelines are presented for incorporating religiosity into suicide
risk assessment. Suicide rates and risk and protective factors for suicide vary
across religions. It is essential to assess for degree of religious commitment
and involvement to accurately identify suicide risk.
More medical journal articles/studies demonstrating that religiosity correlates
with decreased risk of suicide. There are numerous others one could find in
PubMed.Nonnemaker, James M; McNeely, Clea; Blum, Robert Wm, Social
Science & Medicine 57,11 (Dec 2003) 2049-2054 (discusses which factors of
religiosity give the protective affect against suicide. paraphrased)Bagley, Christopher; Mallick, Kanka. Canadian Journal of Education 22. 1
(Winter 1997):89 (religion provides significant protective affect from
suicide, paraphrased)Donahue, M., & Benson, P. (1995). Religion
and the well - being of adolescents. Journal of Social Issues, 51, 145 - 156.
(*religiosity had no significant links with self - esteem, despite having
significant negative correlations with suicidality* from abstract)Jie Zhang, Jie; Jin, Shenghua. Adolescence. 31. 122 (Summer 1996) 451-67(*The findings in the American data support previous literature that family
cohesion and religiosity are inversely related to suicide ideation.*) from
abstractFitzpatric, Kevin M; Piko, Bettina F.; Miller, Elizabeth.
Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior. 38. 5 (Oct 2008): 552-63(*the
lowering role of religious protective factors was limited, though student's
belonging to or their perception of belonging to a spiritual community was a
significant factor in lowering the odds of suicide ideation. [PUBLICATION