Deseret News
Letter to the editor

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.

Carly Parsons

Salt Lake City