Among the suicide statistics are people in or associated with the military. In
America, military people and veterans commit suicide at the rate of 1 per hour
or 22 per day. 60% are over age 59, 30% are under age 39. Police
officers commit suicide at the rate of 125 to 150 per year. Firemen
may only be 30 or so per year.
The increase use of medications with known "increased suicidal risks"
needs to addressed first.
A simple thing that can be done to reduce the suicide rate is to not have a gun
in the home. White males have the highest suicide rate. While murder rates
have decreased, suicide rates using firearms has increased."Ecologic studies that compare states with high gun ownership levels to
those with low gun ownership levels find that in the U.S., where there are more
guns, there are more suicides. The higher suicide rates result from higher
firearm suicides; the non-firearm suicide rate is about equal across
states."About 85% of attempts with a firearm are fatal:
that’s a much higher case fatality rate than for nearly every other
method. Many of the most widely used suicide attempt methods have case fatality
rates below 5%"(Harvard School of Public Health)
How was Provo School District able to address this and have this success? In
Alpine district (and in most of Utah) it is literally forbidden to talk about
suicide; you can't even use the word "suicide" as administrators
are afraid it calls too much attention to the idea of doing it. But they have
anti-porn assemblies, anti-tobacco and anti-drug assemblies, and wear colors and
ribbons to promote not choosing these things. Our local high school has
experienced the loss of beloved friends to suicide. I have family who have lost
children to suicide. If we are hiding from suicide as a real option teens and
others consider, that won't make it go. Rather, shouldn't we try
letting kids know that people really feel like this, and that it's a
horrific option to choose, for everybody affected by it? I've watched my
daughter grieve a close friend's suicide for 1 1/2 years now. We need to
make suicide prevention a regular part of the healthy living dialogue.
Truth seeker, your right, guns are part of the means to the end.But your
thoughts seem motivated towards gun control.How about discussing why white
men take loosing jobs, and not being able to provide like the man next door so
very hard?It's the main reason they commit this action.They
feel like they are failures.Nothing to do with guns.They will just
jump off a cliff instead.
Deseret News it's not only teens committing suicide! More articles focus
on teens when other populations have increases as well, especially since the
Re:AggieLove"An analysis of 2010 deaths in Utah showed nearly 40
percent of those who committed suicide had a conflict with an intimate partner.
Slightly more than half had been diagnosed with a mental illness. Only 15
percent were reported to have a financial problem.Research suggests
that the high rate of suicide in the Intermountain West may be tied to
elevation, rural communities with fewer health resources, access to firearms and
a heavily western European population, which has been shown to have more
suicidal thoughts."(SL Trib 2012)
The loss of a job affects a man more than they let on. Men that lose the ability
to provide for their families often look at their life insurance policies and
notice that the suicide clause expires after 2 years of policy ownership
generally. I know I did this research when I lost my job after 14 years and felt
like a failure. Thankfully with some hard work I found a new job and can still
provide for my family.This economy sucks and is playing a part in
the rise of suicides. For sure there are other factors like mental health that
must be addressed, but for adults and white males in general, look no further
than a job loss in a lousy economy.Fix the economy and let the
people have hope. Right now, all this hope and change is going for the worse.
Radicals can't let it go, guns are here to stay whether they like it or
not. The left wing can forget about ever getting laws passed to strip gun
ownership for any reason, the risk of disarming the american people and opening
this country to demonic government control is too risky. We are seeing what
government repression is doing to this country, it is causing suicides in
schools and the worst economy this country has ever seen since the revolutionary
war.Suicide prevention? Its impossible to predict, define, or
eliminate. The mind is to unpredictable and no 2 suicides are the same.
Medications cause the majority of self inflicted deaths but people put too much
value on medications to cure anything. Medications cure notheing and awareness
is of little value when someone makes up their mind to die. There is little we
can do to stop it. Its not something we can educate people to avoid, they
already know the risk and results of their choices and its their right to due if
they so choose.They choose to die to escape their suffering and
emotional pain of socialism in children and adults, intervention only makes
their lives worse longer.
I think it's Very safe to say that Guns have Never been the
'reason' for committing suicide. So to somehow link suicide with gun
control is absurd. It's certainly one manor of death, however, so is drug
overdose, strangulation (hanging), Carbon monoxide poisoning, cutting,
suffocation, jumping off a cliff, etc. The article seems to highlight
mental illness, which I think is certainly easy for parents, friends, and
families to except. But it's not Always the reason for suicide... and
that's why suicide is a difficult problem to address. No one, typically a
parent, wants to hear that they were part of the 'reason' their kid
committed suicide, and I realize you cant tell the parents of someone who
committed suicide that they were part of the problem. BUT, I think we as
parents, families and friends should be able to learn from these parenting
mistakes so we can improve how we raise our own children.? Maybe be more loving,
more caring, more forgiving, less judgmental. Recognize the good things our kids
do, dont compare them to Sally or John down the street, and don't try to
make them into something they're not. jmho
The article touches on the main cause of these suicides: mental illness. The
best preventative measures will be those addressing effective treatment of
mental illness. Some people make the irrational mistake of blaming
inanimate objects such as ropes, firearms, shaving razors, etc for the cause of
suicide. Blaming a rope or a firearm for a suicide is like blaming my fork for
my over-eating.Sure, a person with mental illness may require extra
precautions at home, but let us not blame inanimate objects when the real reason
for suicide overwhelmingly has to do with what is going on inside a person such
as in the case of a chemical/hormonal imbalance.
Suicide among teens is about non acceptance. It is about a society that has shut
out an emerging human being.It is about all of the elements of a society ,
Church, school, peers and the political established that has labeled the younger
person both in print and in the spoken words as UNFIT and UNWORTHY . This
article committed two major sins. One it addressed the issue as Utah's
image problem and it did not once mention the primary cause of teen suicide in
America today. DRUGS and BEING GAY!! This is not the way to solve the problem .
You have to utter the words in order to correct the problem. Your Hopr4Utah
should be Hope4theKIDS. You are trying to solve the problem because it makes you
look bad. How about solving the problem because it is killing our kids.
Truthseeker,I'm with AggieLove on the gun control thing. Sad
as I am to hear of the suicide problem in Utah, the fact remains that guns do
not kill, and the people's right to own them must not be controlled nor
banned under any circumstances. All efforts must be aimed at finding,
correcting, educating, and then helping people avoid whatever it is that's
causing them to loose all hope and settle on suicide. Educate, educate,
educate! That my friend, couple with people caring and reaching out to help
each other, is the only real solution!
The biggest asset any one could have is some one who believes in you.
How about the insane need to be "perfect"? That seems to abound in Utah.
Perfect job, perfect body, perfect grades and when someone can't measure up
to an impossible standard, it's easier to just end it all, rather than be
okay with being imperfect.
People who want to end there life will end it gun or no gun. Stop trains,
cliffs, certain types of medicines. Suicide is tragic and I think most people
that do it are mentally ill. Hard for victims of it the family and friends and
them. You can't blame guns for there decision.
How many times do we hear of murder-suicides in the media?I think
that "Truthseeker" had something when bringing up the statistic of 40%
of suicides having had a conflict with an intimate partner, and "george of
the jungle" who mentioned the need for someone to "believe in you".
It irks me when there seems to be little desire or ability to go
more deeply into the conditions that lead to murder suicides but those few for
which I have found a more detailed report seem to indicate infidelity and
jealousy, whether the partners were married or had a "relationship".It also irks me to hear the term "mental illness" bandied around
quite so much, when I believe that this "illness" sometimes has to do
with the normal human need to be loved and appreciated. It also bothers me
that so many just avoid someone who is "negative" if that
"negativity" is rooted in a sense of helplessness or loneliness rather
than just being habitually cantankerous. Maybe there could be more application
of the commandment to "mourn with those who mourn and comfort those in need
Its rather sad to see politics injected into a subject such as this.I've known several people who have decided to make this final decision.
It's rather frustrating that these people some how came to the conclusion
that there was no alternative for them, that there was no way out. You know
people were letting these people know there were options, but somehow they just
were not able to hear it."It also irks me to hear the term
"mental illness" bandied around quite so much, when I believe that this
"illness" sometimes has to do with the normal human need to be loved and
appreciated."Great point. The need to be loved is hardly an
illness.... but not being able to see that others love you when you are indeed
loved... there is a problem. One of my friends that did take this path did
know he was loved, and loved back, and that was the reason he decided to take
this path - as he felt he had failed those whom he loved... he had not measured
up... had not done enough.Sometimes we need to stop worrying about
being "saints".... and realize sometimes were just human.
I had two lovely neices on opposite sides of the family end their lives. Both
were beautiful, successful, LDS and seemingly had much to live for. One was
engaged and had a successful medical profession; the other had 3 beautiful
children and a supportive family. In retrospect, each had clear signs of
bi-polar and/or depression issues many years ago, but never sufficient to see
suicide as something they would ever contemplate. They both loved and were
unconditionally loved by their families. Acceptance and self-esteem were never
an issue. Some other factors obviously were.The only two things
they had in common were the Church and their Rx meds. We may never know, but
one glaring question that is not being asked here is: Why isn't the high
LDS influence in Utah helping to stem the tide? Examining that role and its
influence in each case is a mandatory consideration for families who truly want
to search every avenue for any help of future victims.
Some have touched on LDS influence in Utah. The fact is that suicide rates are
high across the Rocky Mountain region of the USA irrespective of the LDS
population percentages within any given state in that region. In fact,
religious belief and participation is generally found to reduce attempts at
suicide, though it doesn't prevent thoughts of suicide. Some
are mistaking a need to feel loved with mental illness. Mental illness goes far
beyond a need to feel loved. It involves chemical and hormonal imbalances.
Extra love alone won't fix those imbalances.Now obviously not
everyone who commits suicide suffers from mental illness. As some have
mentioned, extreme stress such as the loss of employment in a bad economy can be
a factor for some. In other cases family relationship difficulties may be a
factor. Still, those don't negate the need to find effective treatments
for those who suffer from true mental illness.
@Shazandra"Why isn't the high LDS influence in Utah helping
to stem the tide?"It appears that the high LDS influence might
actually help after all. The mountain states have higher than average suicide
rates in the USA. But Utah has been among the lowest in suicide rates in the
mountain states. If the LDS influence increases suicide rates as many critics
claim, then Utah would have the highest suicide rate in the mountain states, not
the lowest. But that is not the case. I realize that correlation does not
necessarily mean causation, so we must be cautious with assumptions, however.
As a parent, what do you do when your son talks about suicide? Has no
motivation. Feels like a complete failure, "The black sheep of the
family." A loser when he compares himself to the rest of his cousins.
Questions his career path, which is a good one, but now expresses self-doubt?
Goes to the art school of his dream and still has no motivation or self respect
and very low self esteem and is gay and basically doesn't believe in God
and denies everything he ever learned as a mormon youth? What do we do? He even
goes to therapy and that doesn't seem to be working. Sometimes he talks
about just going to a mental institution and staying there forever.
"But your thoughts seem motivated towards gun control.""So to
somehow link suicide with gun control is absurd.""guns do not
kill, and the people's right to own them must not be controlled"Did I say anything about enacting gun control laws? Nope. Although I am in favor of gun control laws. But having a gun in the
home is a personal choice. Even in states which have strict gun control laws,
people are allowed to have guns in the home. We made a specific
decision, being parents of 3 sons, to not have a gun in the home. (not
fanatical--my kids had toy guns and when older occasionally went to a shooting
range with their dad). But, we had been educated about the link in young males
between emotional upset triggering physical activity. "Don't give an
emotionally upset son the keys to the car" we learned at a seminar offered
parents at school. We knew the heightened risk between successful completion of
suicide and firearms. I view it like a seat belt. Accidents still happen with
seat belts-but a seat belt improves the chances of survival.
Almost a decade ago I gave the life-sketch at my best friends funeral. Somewhere
he lost hope. And I have yet to figure out where.But I have some
ideas.... With people being less friendly, people spending more time in doors.
The disappearance of wholesome mainstream entertainment, and the emergence of
the promiscuous, drug-fueled, anything goes culture of pride and selfishness, no
wife, no kids, no commitment, is it any wonder the suicide rate increases?Selfishness IS the root of all evil. And selfishness IS misery.But with good parenting, establishment of a productive, God-fearing,
Christ-centered lifestyle, starting a family, getting an education, owning a
home, it doesn't have to be this way.Selfishness never was
Utah Dept of Health stats for UT:80% of suicide deaths were boys/men,
especially between the ages of 15-44.Firearms accounted for 67% of
suicides age 21 or younger, 60% of ALL suicide deaths. re:sgDepression can be hugely challenging and difficult to overcome. I wish there
were more effective treatments and I think one day there will be. Be careful
with meds--for some they help, for others they don't. What about support
groups--for instance is there an "Affirmation" (LDS gay group) in your
area? Maybe it would help him to connect with others. (they have a website,
affirmation org) And/or, finding a "service" type activity--helping
others on a personal level can be personally fulfilling and meaningful. Good luck
LDS Liberal said, "The increase use of medications with known
'increased suicidal risks' needs to addressed first."A
2006 study showed that SSRI antidepressants have saved thousands of lives since
they became available in the U.S. in the late 1980s. Suicide rates remained
fairly steady for the 15 years prior to the introduction of Prozac in 1988, but
they dropped steadily over the next 14 years as use of the drug increased.
Between 12.7 and 13.7 suicides occurred among every 100,000 people in the U.S.
from the early 1960s until 1988. Suicides steadily declined after that to a low
of 10.4 per 100,000 in 2000. A 2009 study in Europe showed that “Suicide
rates have tended to decrease more in European countries where there has been a
greater increase in the use of antidepressants. These findings underline the
importance of the appropriate use of antidepressants as part of routine care for
people diagnosed with depression, therefore reducing the risk of suicide.”
My2Cents, you said, "There is little we can do to stop it. . . .
Intervention only makes their lives worse longer." Wow. Imagine if society
felt the same way about people with diabetes or heart disease. Depression is
treatable and people who suffer from it can go on to live happy, productive
lives. And there is evidence that intervention does help prevent suicide: A
2-year intervention program was performed in Nuremberg at four levels: training
of family doctors and support through different methods; a public relations
campaign informing about depression; cooperation with community facilitators
(teachers, priests, local media, etc.); and support for self-help activities as
well as for high-risk groups. The effects of the 2-year intervention on the
number of suicidal acts were evaluated with respect to a 1-year baseline and a
control region. Results: Compared to the control region, a reduction in
frequency of suicidal acts was observed in Nuremberg during the 2-year
intervention.Your statement, "Its [sic] their right to due [sic]
if they so choose" is alarming.
One problem seems to be that when "mental illness" is diagnosed we hear
of many cases of prescribed medications, based on that diagnosis and supposed to
alleviate problems, leading to suicidal feelings and actual suicides. I'd
like to hear and read more discussion on this; some on this thread have already
indicated problems with psychiatric meds.I do think that people feel
driven to extreme measures when terrible hurts, overwhelming and seemingly
hopeless circumstances and feelings of isolation are not mitigated by the
concern and love of those around them. I see some people hurting that are
ignored or merely told to "cheer up" without any attempt to ascertain if
there is a real problem, and others who might fake a suicide attempt just to get
their way. The last group never take enough pills to succeed though I suppose
that sometimes they might do so accidentally.I do suspect frequent
failure to take time to talk with a person in especially dire circumstances; we
don't know the extent of their worries or think they will get by. It is
common for people to say and do terrible things to others, but how powerful is a
@Utes Fan- Too high of rates for mountain states vs. the NY/East Coast
lifestyle, from my perspective.@Capsaicin- Agreed, selfishness has
consequences. But all of the solutions in your last paragraph don't deal
with those who came from great families and had success and love, but used Rxs
that had fatal consequences.@Truthseeker- Yes, guns are the easiest
and most used. But their absence is no deterrent. My Utah neice (36) used a
shotgun, the California neice (39) hung herself in the family tool shed. I
doubt the CA neice, being an RN, would have ever used a gun. But then nothing
in her sweet life would ever have indicated such action from her.We
should give our best, try to be aware, and show love to all. But, IMHO, there
is no easy solution or trite reasoning that covers those who are
chemically-induced to such action.
sg: Thank you for expressing your concerns. Awareness is the first key to
finding help. Just last night I watched an episode of BYUtv's program
"Turning Point" which was about the healing capacity of animals to help
those who are depressed and suicidal; those without hope. The show was called
"The Gentle Barn" (and it's located in CA!). Go to BYUtv.org,
click on "shows", find "Turning Point" and watch this episode.
The connection for many children/youth/even adults is to feel needed. When they
are put in charge of helping heal animals like these, they begin to feel needed.
Check it out to see if your son could be helped in such a way.
If you have children / adults that are dealing with depression / mental illness
you should seriously question whether you should continue to keep firearms in
your home.If you are going to keep firearms in your home then you
should have a dang good plan that prevents said children / adults from accessing
@sg --"what do you do when your son talks about suicide?"I'm so sorry for your son's struggles.It's
great that he's in therapy. If at all possible, try to make sure that he
also connects with some sort of LGBT support group.LGBT people are
roughly 4-5 times more likely to commit suicide than straight people. One huge
reason is widespread institutionalized homophobia. Everyone from their school to
their parents to their church tells them that they are "less" than
everyone else. This problem is especially prevalent in conservative states like
Utah with strong and disapproving churches.Keep reminding him that
you love him and value him just the way he is, and that he's an important
part of your life. Do NOT tell him that homosexuality is "bad" or
"sinful". Even if you believe those things are true, he doesn't
need to hear them right now -- they will only increase his sense of failure and
alienation.And lastly -- if he thinks he needs to go to a mental
hospital, he might be right. Don't discount the possibility.I
wish you and your son much healing and hope.
@Truthseeker. Canada and Australia both have strict gun control and both
countries outrun the US in suicide. If someone wants to do it, they will find
My sister lost one son to suicide and shortly after another son died. Her health
had been bad and I think it was just too much. She died within a couple of
years. It has been so devastating to our entire family. It is like somebody rips
open a huge hole in your heart and the pain just doesn't want to go away. I
think we lack hope in our society. It seems like we dwell far to much on the
negative. Even as an adult, it can be hard! Any of us can find ourselves at a
moment when things seem too hard. I have had total strangers ask me how I was!
Two really hard moments and somehow these two ladies knew it was important to
talk to me. I wasn't thinking suicide, but I was in a bad place, and by
feeling their concern, it did wonders to how felt. It made me feel hope. Hope is
what we need to help them have. I pray for young people a lot. Nobody should
ever have to lose someone this way. Thanks to those who work to prevent it. God
bless you every day
You cannot chalk up suicide to a few simple boxes...it is pernicious and often
totally inexplicable...don't blame it on guns, even lifetime gun-haters
will find a gun if that is their method-of-choice (personal knowledge)...we have
a lousy lousy mental health system all over the USA, and Utah is perhaps worse
in some ways, because many religious people believe a mentally/emotionally ill
person can and should simply pray the problem(s) away; or worse yet, simply
repent of whatever must be causing that illness! And many people never
seek/obtain life-saving treatment -- what a shame. However, many take their own
lives during or after the best treatment available...as I said, often totally
unexplainable. We can learn to survive without explanations - however, it is
really difficult for our finite, earthly brains to deal with. Prevention,
prevention, prevention...get help for anyone you know who will accept it. Keep
trying - it is worth it.
@Shazandra"@Utes Fan- Too high of rates for mountain states vs.
the NY/East Coast lifestyle, from my perspective."Perry F.
Renshaw, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, professor of psychiatry at the U School of Medicine
and an investigator with Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative
has found a correlation between higher altitude and suicide, hence higher
suicide rates than the East Coast.
With regard to the GENERAL sense of well-being of the people of the Rocky
Mountain region, a "happiness" poll that Gallup released in February
last year placed Utah as number five, Colorado number six, and Montana scored
number ten. I don't know where Idaho and Wyoming fell, but you can check
it out.This year's poll, or that released this year, had Utah
and Colorado in the top five (2nd and 4th respectively). I know that this is
not the quite, or not exactly, the subject under discussion but it might
rehabilitate the Western States in the minds of some as generally a happy place
to be.We can still be concerned for those experiencing a depressed
period in their lives. I hope we are.
The Canuck:Good point about life insurance benefits. And it doesn't
help that I've read several articles recently that advocate drug testing
welfare recipients or one that I read just today that suggests that most states
award benefits that make holding down a job "not worth it". Contrary to popular sentiment, most people want to provide for their families
and they want a job that will allow them to do so. But what am I doing
trying to explain this to a Canuck? ;)
Thank you for writing this excellent article, and thanks to those who are
reaching out as listeners, advocates, etc. Local, Texas, and
national survey data indicate that about one in eight students have made one or
more attempts of varying lethality, and suicide is the second to third highest
cause of death in the younger age groups, among others, depending upon where
murder comes in. I've been there, needed extensive
antidepressant and talk therapy to deal with the cognitive distortions and
fallacies that lead to suicide, and lost a brother to suicide. More should be
taught about the warning signs of, and cognitive distortions that lead to, of
suicide. Alive is better! Life does get better! Reach out! For heaven's
sake, listen carefully, and without criticism and judgment! Nobody can catch
all of them but you may catch on and save one. Get help for anyone you know who
may be contemplating suicide.
@My2Cents: I believe God blessed us with this knowledge and it is wise to
utilize it.Chemical imbalances can be EXTREMELY debilitating. I
don't believe most people would advise someone with diabetes to not take
meds. As a society(perhaps mainly in Utah)we need to remove the stigma of mental
health. Have you ever been in a dark deep pit without any light and any way to
get out? Have you ever experienced a child in 3rd grade who still couldn't
read and got into trouble at recess? BOTH of theses circumstances were helped
because of intervention and medication. One was able to live a normal life with
meds(and never be in the dark pit again!), and the 3rd grader learned to read
within weeks LITERALLY(knew it but was unable to get it from brain to reading
without proper meds)and graduated high school in top fourth of the class.@Gildas & Sg: From experience within my family I would advise anyone
to first find a psychiatrist(counselor who can administer meds i.e.MD)they trust
enormously(personally that was LDS only)and try different Meds for recommended
time period until one works.
Three word answer guilt guilt guilt, and a society that incubates and breeds it.
We thought our son was just going through typical teenage moodiness. I felt
compelled to describe the symptoms of depression. I told my son to think about
it and please come talk to me and that I was there to help him. He did come to
me and admit that he had the symptoms and that he had been contemplating
suicide. He was 18. He is 20 now and refusing to take prescribed medication.
Since he is an adult I do not know what he has been diagnosed with but looking
at what he had been prescribed I believe he is bi-polar and he fits the
symptoms. Parents don't ignore the signs. Show your child you are willing
to talk even if what you hear from them terrifies you. Help them see it is a
medical issue. It's hard because there is a stigma but you can't
worry about other people. It's your child's life. We have helped my
son get a job, get into school, and figure out what he wants from life.
He's writing a book. He's in counseling and is seeing that life is
All the people who believe that the commenter who suggested not having guns in
the home has an agenda of gun control, you do not know that for sure. Having a
child who is bi-polar and has been suicidal has caused me to re-think getting a
gun and a permit. I fully believe in the right to bear arms. I know that if
someone wants to take their life they can do many other things.I have rope in my
garage. I have a bottle of sleeping pills in my medicine cabinet. But
it's my choice to protect my children. If the mother of the shooter at
Sandy Hook Elementary had thought the way I do her son might have had a harder
time carrying out his plan. Maybe he would have given up and lost interest. But
when I see my son become angry as a symptom of his illness I'm glad I
don't have to worry he can find my gun. My dad hid and locked up parts of
his gun and ammunition all over the house. My brothers still found and assembled
it and shot a hole in the ceiling.