Individuals with mental illness are not generally violent toward others, despite the stigma and the push for “more mental health” initiatives in response to firearm reform. They do, however, pose a potentially fatal threat to themselves. Among youth ages 11-17, Utah’s suicide rate has tripled on average since 2007, and is this age group’s leading cause of death.15 comments on this story
As a graduate student studying and practicing clinical social work, this is deeply disturbing. As someone who has lost peers to suicide, this is deeply disturbing. As a human being, this is deeply disturbing. And it should be for you, too, no matter your stance on gun control. Recently, our state legislators seem to also be disturbed: Gov. Gary Herbert teamed up with a suicide prevention task force in January to try to tackle this public health crisis. The main goals of this three-part plan include improving crisis response, enhancing protective factors and reducing risk factors. The latter piece includes — you guessed it — reduced access to lethal means. I would never claim that if guns were completely banished that suicide would disappear because I know that this lethal mean is only one layer of a very multifaceted issue. However, considering that half of all suicides are completed with a firearm, taking a stricter stance on access to firearms is a step in the right direction.
Salt Lake City