Comments about ‘Utah lost 574 to suicide last year, but prevention efforts are moving forward’

Return to article »

Published: Saturday, Feb. 22 2014 9:30 p.m. MST

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Kearns, UT

How soon will it be before somebody brings up the elephant that is in the room. We all know what the number one cause for suicide attempts in Utah is, but we are too afraid to talk about it. I know many times in my youth I would spend time alone thinking about how much easier it would be if I weren't alive. I never talked with anyone about it. Miraculously, I never attempted to take my own life, but I really didn't live authentically either; I feared the possible rejection resulting from letting people know by secret. I hope the people of Utah will soften their hearts and learn to be kinder and more Christlike to the outsiders who don't fit in with the dominant culture.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

This is a tragic situation with no easy answers.

How does Utah's suicide rate compare with other states, both on a per capita basis and within age levels?

What quantifiable evidence is there that crisis hotlines and specialists actually decrease the number of attempts or actual suicides?

Is this a problem that actually can be fixed by external forces?

Is there any correlation between suicide attempts and prior drug use, especially psychotropic medications or illegal drugs?

Orem, ut

Utah is part of what many sociologists call "the suicide belt." States with higher than average suicide rates stretching throughout the Mountain-West to Oregon and into Alaska. Utah actually has lower rates than many states around it in the suicide belt.

Kuna, ID

My goodness, that's so many.
Almost not believable.

Crestucky, FL

The number seems shockingly high while admittedly, I know nothing of other state numbers or comparitive statistics. The breakdown by the numbers would have been informative as who are leading these stats: youth, adult male/females, married/single, LDS/non, etc. Knowing the most vulnerable group and where the primary problem lies would provide creative thoughts as to what ithe major factors for that are and how to positively address it.

Salt Lake City, UT

Utah was tied for 15th highest with Vermont in a 2007 CDC list I found. Alaska was highest, and just about every single western state except California was top 20 (there seems to be a correlation with lower population density states). Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Nevada were 2-5 for instance. (Colorado 6, Arizona 8, Idaho T-11th). So Utah's doing better than all of its' neighbors.

Topeno, Finland

To really??.?

The happiness of Christlike life brings Joy and realisation of our purpose existence on earth. That is the single most powerful factor in suicide prevention! It is sad when DRUGS and other addicting forces cause people to become depressed to the point of suicide.
Addictions, especially drugs, must be the biggest causes of suicide.
I wonder how many suicides there really are? How many accodental ODd are actually suicides.

The Dixie Kid
Saint George, UT

@ Really??



Factual information is found on the Utah Department of Health website under suicide prevention. It's a serious public health issue.
7th highest adult male age 25-64 in the U.S.
9th highest adult female age 25-64 in the U.S.
11th highest young adult age 18-24 in the U.S.
17th highest teen rate age 10-17 in the U.S.
28th highest older adult age 65+ in the U.S.
These figures are from 2006-2010 CDC.
It's the 2nd leading cause of death in Utah for our youth and 8th leading cause of death for adults. KSL TV News did an excellent special report on the topic and our youth.

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

Most people have a mental image of New York as a stressful place. Why then is Utah's suicide rate more than double New York's?

Could it be that Utah practices more ostracism than New York? Could it be that more Utah parents are encouraged to disown their own children if they don't meet the expected behavior set by religious standards?

It's hard to believe there's less unconditional love in Utah families than in New York's, but the figures don't lie.

It's a statistical fact that gay people, especially young gay people, experience a much higher risk of suicide, and that rate increases by multiples if their own parents reject them. In my state, gay kids are entitled to grow up, settle down with a loved one to share life with, and even get married if they want. Something to live for.

So, New York -- diverse, accepting, with vibrant communities for everyone -- has a suicide rate of 8 per 100,000, one of the lowest in the nation. And Utah, with a strongly dominant religious culture, highly conservative, and insular, has a suicide rate of 17 per 100,000.

Alpine, UT

To assert that drugs and addictions "must be the biggest causes of suicide," is incredibly ignorant and shortsighted. While they do factor into it in many cases, it is entirely possible to have severe depression without ever having done drugs.

Henderson, NV

Really??? and A Quaker: Please stop with the gay agenda, will you? There are SO many reasons why people choose to end their lives that have zero to do with Same Sex Attraction. There are the addicted (to various things), there are the lonely, there are the mentally ill, there are the chronically sick. Must I go on? Please broaden your horizons and notice there is a larger world out there than you may suppose.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

@DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Is there any correlation between suicide attempts and prior drug use, especially psychotropic medications or illegal drugs?
4:57 p.m. Feb. 22, 2014


The FDA already a Black Box warning label [their highest level of warning] be placed on all SSRI anti-depressant medications for increased risk of Suicide, and other Bizarre and Violent Behaviors.

Utah is also #1 in the Nation for use of these medications...

casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT

Kearns, UT

Being a new comer to Utah, no, I don't know what the elephant in the living room is. If you have statistics, and considering that Utah is 15th in suicide rate, why not let the rest of us benefit from your insight?

St. George, UT

Bullies- Enough said! I would say it all start with the "B" word

Lehi, UT

Suicide is a tragedy, and it is also regrettable that so many people are misinformed about the causes (and anti-mormonism takes advantage of this in their ongoing attempts at leading people from truths and happiness). Many studies have been done on Utah, Mormons, religiosity, etc. The research shows that Church activity in any religion decreases suicide rates, AND especially for Mormons. Utah is consistently among the happiest of States, and active LDS are much more likely to be happy, educated, healthy, and etc. and much less likely to commit suicide than non-Mormons. Those who continue to blame religion, Mormons (as some do here) and so on, and to distract us from real causes, often seem more concerned with hating on religion than saving lives.
Utah is in the suicide belt, but generally has one of the lowest rates of suicide among Mountain States, this is in spite of the very high rates of suicide among non-Mormons and anti-religious groups and higher rates of homosexuality etc.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Why does the DN monitor continue to censor the published warning labels from the FDA?

The FDA's currently required packaging insert for SSRIs includes a warning (known as a "black box warning") that a pooled analysis of placebo controlled trials of 9 antidepressant drugs (including multiple SSRIs) resulted in a risk of suicidal behavior that was twice that of placebo.

"Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs
Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality)

Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber.

(See Warnings: Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk, Precautions: Information for Patients, and Precautions: Pediatric Use)"

BTW -- Utah alos has the highest % of people taking these meds...

Orem, UT

LDS Liberal, why do you continue to censor the published warning labels from the FDA? On the label, after “(suicidality)” comes these words: “in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders.” Yet you chose to omit those in your comment. Why?

Here's what follows, which you also left out: “Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.”

If you accept the scientific research which shows increased risk for young people, you have to accept that same research which shows no increased risk for adults and even a benefit for those over 65. Antidepressants save lives.

Lehi, UT

I don't mean to interfere with the activist/anti-mormon agenda but understanding suicide is important. As mentioned, active Mormons are happier and less suicidal than the non-religious, etc.

And gays have high suicide rates everywhere. Bullying is certainly a factor and it is unacceptable, but LDS are also frequently victims of bullying and (partially thanks to activists) are more likely to be portrayed negatively in media, mocked, ridiculed, etc., yet, LDS are happy and have much lower suicide rates etc. The Oxford study on Utah Mormons found that Mountain States have higher suicide rates but Utah Mormons don't (see other DN articles on States, sunlight etc) and LDS happiness is attributed to religiosity.

Studies also note that gays are more likely to be addicted, promiscuous, discriminate (including racism), come from broken homes, participate in violence, be involved in out of wedlock pregnancy (oddly), etc. These things seemingly increase suicide attempts.

Gay marriage legalization and pro-gay culture don't seem to reduce gay promiscuity, suicide, depression etc.

So let's educate about the negative effects of promiscuity, addiction, bullying, etc. and help increase love, sunlight, Mormonism etc (kidding on that last part...sorta)

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

@firstamendment: You're not doing a very good job of explaining why the suicide rate is so low in supposedly "Godless" New York.

And while Church involvement does benefit, especially older people, in keeping them interconnected with community, it must seem especially devastating to those younger people who are excommunicated, cast out of the only community they have known, especially when those excommunications result in alienation or disownment from their own families.

Your assertions about gay people are filled with mistruths, distortions, and what could only be described as hateful speech. It's a known fact that laws against homosexuality cause far more psychological damage than being homosexual does. Simply comparing jurisdictions disproves your statements. Having to live with constant societal disapproval would be stressful on any minority, but especially so when the members of that minority are isolated from any community. Only 1 in 20 people are gay, and they're evenly distributed in heterosexual birth families, at least until they're ostracized and kicked out.

The survivors move to places where they can try to rebuild their lives after that cruel damage.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments