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

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

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LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Orem, UT


2 reasons –
1. limit of 200 words or less,
2. Because chemicals do not recognize birthdays.

What does Aurora CO movie Theater,
Virginia Tech,
Sandy Hook elementary,
Columbine HS,
Trolley Square,
LDS genealogy Library,
Like my Elder’s Quorum President,
Fire Department neighbor,
And hundreds of other stories ALL have in common?

The drugs.

FYI – in 96% of the population they may save lives,
But in 4% they have a severe adverse reaction.

But I’m a Scientist, not a politician or Pharmaceutical rep.

I have NO axe to grind, nothing to gain,
I just want to determine the truth in all things.

Anchorage, AK

@Schnee you posted: "(there seems to be a correlation with lower population density states)"

It's actually higher altitude/elevation states. With Alaska the anomaly due to high percentage native population (drugs, alcohol, depression, suicide).

In turn, these states are also low density by nature of mountainous terrain.

Why higher elevations? Perhaps thinner air? Higher density of comics rays or solar radiation? Longer winters?

Anchorage, AK

2 A Quaker you posted: 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.
You operate on wrong assumptions. Higher altitude/elevation states have highest suicide rates. Thus, any comparison needs to be made to similar apples and oranges.

Among all the high altitude/elevation states (same apples), Utah has the lowest suicide rate. So what factor in Utah influences this lessor rate? I suspect the happy go luckly (undrugged) attitude of LDS myself.

My state of Alaska is an anomaly, while at sea level, is the highest suicide rate, chiefly caused by high native population and its equally high association with drug and alcohol use. I'd bet our Caucasian only stats are as low as the rest of the sea level states.

Orem, UT

LDS Liberal, if you had wanted to quote the entire label you could have started a new comment. And saying chemicals don't recognize birthdays merely proves my point: you selectively quoted those parts of the warning which suit your agenda. As a scientist you know that the chemicals don't change, but the patients do. An adolescent's developing brain is different from an adult's.

Your list of tragedies primarily concern violence toward others. So why are you using them to support a warning about suicide? As a scientist you know that you can't arbitrarily substitute one side effect for another. Even so, in the Virginia Tech case, the autopsy showed no psychiatric drugs in the shooter's system during the time of the shooting. In the Trolley Square shooting, there was no information released of the perp being on psychiatric drugs. In the Columbine tragedy only one of the shooters was on meds. So no, these stories don't have drugs in common. They may have depression in common, but as you quoted yourself from the warning: “Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide.”

Philadelphia, PA


That's a cute theory, as long as you don't look at any data. Many of the states of the Bible Belt are at sea level and have at least 50% higher suicide rates than NY.

Virginia 12
North Carolina 12.3
South Carolina 13.8
Georgia 11.7
Florida 14.8
Alabama 14.2
Mississippi 13.1
Louisiana 12.3
Texas 17.1

Of course, as more than half of suicides are by firearm, it might also be useful to look at prevalence of gun ownership.

Orem, UT

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

If by psychotropic you mean antidepressants, then the answer is yes, but not in the way you're implying. Antidepressant use has been shown to prevent suicides. Researchers estimate that after the availability of SSRIs there were 33,600 fewer US suicide deaths than would have otherwise been expected between 1988 and 2002 (see Julio Licino et al, 2006). Studies show similar results in other countries (see Ricardo Gusmao et al, 2013).

A paper in the New England Journal of Medicine summarized it this way:“There may be controversy about the risk posed by antidepressants, but there is none about the risk associated with untreated depression: estimates of the lifetime risk of suicide in depressed persons range from 2.2 to 15%, depending on the population under study — not to mention the considerable suffering and functional impairment caused by this illness. In contrast, the FDA meta-analyses reveal an absolute risk of suicide in patients taking investigational antidepressants of 0.01%” (Friedman and Leon, NEJM June 2007).

Anchorage, AK

@ Testimony. posted: That's a cute theory, as long as you don't look at any data.

It's not my theory. ABC reported on it. Google: Suicide Rates Higher in the Mountains ABC Sept. 22, 2010

Is accessibly to Guns the factor? But Utah has high accessibility of guns. But compared to other apples, they have lower suicide rates. The south has higher Gun accessibility, but rates aren't down compared to other oranges. So it's not guns making the difference.

Then there must be other factors when comparing oranges to oranges. ie NY and Southern states are at sea level. Alaska also sea level has thee highest suicides, natives and alcohol are primary factor. What is the alcohol stats in southern States? I suspect high as compared to NY? Perhaps Utah's low alcohol stats (due to LDS beliefs) result in Utah being lowest for suicides in the Mountain States.

Seems from above, alcohol is the determining factor here.

So: Within the sea level or Mountain categories. Higher alcohol rates equal higher suicide within the respective groups. Alaska especially high suicide rate due to high percent natives with prevalent alcohol abuse.

Kearns, UT

While I mentioned my own struggles growing up, I never claimed that the anti-gay attitudes in the state is the main cause of suicides in this state. I believe it's a much bigger problem than that. It's the overall "We're better than everyone else" attitude that is so pervasive in our communities. Just look over the comments on here, and you will see that attitude.

People who don't fit in--who are reminded daily that they aren't are good as their neighbors--struggle to find a place in their communities. Some self medicate, some seek counseling, but too many suffer in silence. That feeling of not being as good as everyone else leads one to lose faith and hope. It destroys souls.

Instead of thinking about how much better we are than everyone else, we need to start thinking about what we can all do to be better neighbors, family members, and friends. We need to reach out to others and let them know they are not alone.

Philadelphia, PA

LDSareChristians, who said,"... alcohol is the determining factor here,"

That's yet another cute and simplistic theory of yours that is easily disproved. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH/NIAAA) publishes consumption figures by state.

Comparing the two sets of stats, your new theory doesn't hold up, either.

I think "Really???" of Kearns, UT has it pretty well nailed. It's most likely to do with community and isolation. Where strong, insular communities exclude others, or where people don't have a community to belong to, isolation and depression can result. We all need other people. Jesus tried to teach us to bring outcasts into our communities, to show them love and acceptance. To do the opposite is to commit violence to their spirit and well-being.

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT


One suicide is too many. Whatever culture exists in Utah that *might* increase suicides should certainly be examined. Also, whatever culture exists in Utah that *might* decrease suicides should also be examined.

However, the Brain Institute at the University of Utah medical school has found a correlation between higher altitudes and suicide. Also, Utah has lower suicide rates than surrounding mountain states - that suggests that Utah's culture, if it has an effect at all, seems to lower suicide rates rather than increase them, and that the higher elevations is perhaps the biggest contributor to increases in suicides.

Henderson, NV

A Quaker: Speaking of mistruths and distortions, here are the actual stats: The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a gay and lesbian think tank, released a study in April 2011 estimating based on its research that just 1.7 percent of Americans between 18 and 44 identify as gay or lesbian, while another 1.8 percent -- predominantly women -- identify as bisexual. From an article entitled, “Americans Have No Idea How Few Gay People There Are” May 31, 2012 The Atlantic.

Orem, UT

LDS Liberal, why did you say that the black box for antidepressants warned of “Bizarre and Violent Behaviors”? Those words don't appear in the warning. You can speculate all you want about an antidepressant link to violent behaviors, but you can't use the black box as support. Anyone with the Internet can read it for themselves: the warning applies only to patients 24 and younger, and only regards suicidality. Nothing about “bizarre and violent behaviors.” The warning goes on to say that for adults there is no increased risk, and for adults over 65 there is a decrease in suicidality.

Antidepressants aren't infallible. They don't help everyone. Some people try several before finding one that works, and relief is not immediate. It's possible their use might trigger violence. Read “Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law.” Its authors study legal cases where antidepressants were implicated in the outcome. The authors conclude, however, that “Serious violence on antidepressants is likely to be very rare.”

Benefits of antidepressants far outweigh risks. Researchers estimate that after the availability of SSRIs there were 33,600 fewer US suicide deaths than would have otherwise been expected between 1988 and 2002.

Liberty For All
Cedar, UT

It is well understood and supported by sociological data, that religion and righteious LDS living reduces suicide and depression. We need reach out to the LGBT community and invite them to make healthy lifestyle choices. Condoning unhealthy behavior is not the answer as the data clearly demonstrates.

Lehi, UT

@ A "Quaker" Since your time is spent promoting the wandervolk agenda I can assume you've read the DN articles discussing Mountain States, latitude, sunlight, Vitamin D etc. And, I think you know that the research indicates that the "Godless" people of New York and Utah etc. are much more likely to commit suicide than the active LDS of NY and so on. And, gays in Massachusetts (for example) were 4 times more likely to commit suicide in 2001 and in 2007 after 4 years of gay marriage. Depression rates in countries where gay marriage has been legal for decades are also still high and etc.

Associating gay suicide with a political agenda probably encourages suicide activism, if we are to save lives this needs to stop.

And, while anti-mormon claims tend to be hate based misinformation my "assertions" about gays are from peer reviewed studies (including those manipulated by activists) gay magazines (reporting on gay racism etc) and so on.

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