Utahns think about suicide more than other Americans, study shows

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  • reasoner KINGSLAND, GA
    Oct. 23, 2011 7:27 p.m.

    I certainly wouldn't want to suggest the obvious, but perhaps it has to do with the fact that the state of Utah is 60% Mormon and the male kids find difficulties with having to spend 2 years knocking on doors. Or maybe being taught that they, mere humans, can become gods if they do enough good deeds, as the works based religion of Mormonism teaches. Or maybe they can't swallow the teaching that the planet or star Kolob is full of spirits waiting to enter the bodies of newborns here on earth. Maybe they're having trouble reconciling the idea that there are five (5) sacred texts: The "Book of Mormon"; the "Doctrine and Covenants"; the "Pearl of Great Price"; the "Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints"; and the Holy Bible. The first four (4) of those books don't jibe with the Holy Bible. Christians believe there is only one (1) sacred text-tyhe Holy Bible- so clearly, Mormons are not Christians in that belief. Just maybe the Mormon religion is behind the problem.It is all so confusing and demanding that one be a perfect boy or girl.

  • Eagles63 Provo, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 9:14 a.m.

    I think you have to look at the questions on any survey. The stats showed that suicide rates were average, but that the thoughts on "Suicide" were higher. As a statistician I look at the question leading to the findings. Here is asked have you thought of hurting yourself or would you be better off dead. I think most Mormons do think that they would be better off dead, but that they wouldn't hurt themselves. If the survey asked do you have plans of hurting yourself or have you thought of hurting yourself and not included the other part that the numbers would have been average.

  • Chieftess Ivins, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 12:45 a.m.

    I agree with 10CC. Genetics influence the likelihood of developing mental illness and people of Scandinavian descent have a higher incidence of mental illness. Scandinavians are also more likely to develop certain other health conditions that are often accompanied by depression, such as fibromyalgia, rosacea, polymyalgia rheumatica, giant cell arteritis, vitamin D or B12 deficiency, and numerous others. You can check the statistics for Scandinavian countries and find that they have higher suicide rates than the rest of Europe. Utah was settled by a much higher proportion of Scandinavians than most other states, so we are lucky that our rate of actual suicides is not the highest in the country. Evidently, we are also rated as the happiest people and one Times article by Maia Szalavitz suggests that being around happy people when we are depressed makes us even more depressed because we are comparing ourselves too much. I'm still thinking about that, but overall I would say it's genetics.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 12:39 a.m.

    There are significant reasons for Utah's extremes. We're also highest in anti-depressant usage and pornography subscriptions. The simple truth is that the broad culture of the state is one that does not work for a large number of people, leaving them to feel outcast and alone. Conversely it does work for a lot of people, causing them to feel elated and joyous. This leaves very little room for the moderately tempered.

  • zeba North Ogden, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 12:14 a.m.

    Perspective from a born and raised Utah Mormon. LDS leaders teach us stuff like "Your eternal destiny will not be the result of chance but of choice. It is never too late to begin to choose eternal life!" - from Oct. 2011 Gen. Conf.

    You've studied LDS and other religions, including the histories. But what if you do not believe in religion? You've lived your entire life according to the teachings, but have never received key answers to prayers... And all your family is active members and the majority of their talk and family events focus on the church. Then there are questions about why your boy is not going to scouts, etc. etc. And referring back to the quote I listed, if you are not a believer or not doing all the church stuff, then you not choosing the right... It can wear someone down.

  • Aggielove Junction city, Oregon
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:54 p.m.

    I had major thoughts about this. Then i left utah and it all went away. Maybe its the water.

  • Sassygirl Lehi, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:20 p.m.

    Several people have made some good points, altitude, vitamin D, negative attitudes, high rates of teens, all make a difference. One thing from the article that I never thought about is the fact that the elderly, over 85 I think, in Utah were most likely to think they were "better off dead." I'm curious about how these questions were asked. I know that, while we are a young State, Utahans also tend to live longer than others.

    I'm starting to wonder about study methods, since Utah is rated happiest and etc.

  • Sassygirl Lehi, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    An interesting stat that negative people rarely talk about is that active Mormons have very low suicide rates. So, we really can't blame the Mormons for this one, as fun as it is. One thing I notice about Utah, and especially Salt Lake and the Tribune, is there is so much negativity about the State, and especially about Mormons, I think people who have to see the bad in everything are depressing and are perhaps depressed.....don't know though, but I see it in the comments...

  • Chris Degn Seoul, Korea
    Oct. 22, 2011 6:26 p.m.

    I moved to Utah in the 1980s. It a wonderful place to live and work. Great people, beautiful scenery. I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a young man in high school and have never regretted that decision. I also went to BYU, the church-sponsored school and served a mission for the church. But, as someone who occasionally counsels those who are suicidal, I can say this... Peer pressure and societal attitudes, stereotypes, and stigmas influence choices we make. I am a much happier Latter-day Saint, Mormon, or whatever you want to call me *outside* of Utah. My wife and I have decided we will not retire there when we finish my career that takes me everywhere but Utah. And the reason for that is simple. We are stronger in our faith and more peaceful in it, ironically, where we are in the minority. The "mission field" is the place for us.

    If you're having thoughts of suicide, don't listen to the voice of pressure, but find someone who loves you and get help. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Oct. 22, 2011 6:23 p.m.

    Yea, us non-mormons are just a bunch of losers. Taking drugs, drinking beer, watching wrestling on the tube. We gorge ourselves on, junk food and alcohol, party all the time, instead of going to work, get arrested for all kinds of abuse every few months.
    Us mormons, we cause all the trouble throughout every state. We just ruin everything we touch...just ask the neighbors.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 4:52 p.m.

    Experts remind us that 87.92% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

    Remember that number, 92.4%. It's important any time you evaluate a story containing a statistical report of any kind.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 3:53 p.m.

    I was in a neighboring state (I won't mention the name) for a weekend 5 years ago and heard they have 1 in 8 kids take their life between middle school and high school; I know this study may just be on adults, but this neighboring state traced their problem to being isolated geographically which in turn translates to other types of isolation. Life is complex; you can live in big cities with it's crime, or live in rural areas (with less crime and less jobs) where there is limited health care and limited resources. We need health care for all---and it will be here soon (regardless of who is president).

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 3:52 p.m.

    Why does depression ravage Utahns? Some of it may be genetics, e.g. Swedes, who I think are prone to melancholia. Just one possibility.

  • jrgl CEDAR CITY, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    I'm not seeing many of the posters suggest that underlying mental illness is probably a cause. Mental illness is more to blame for suicidal thinking than affiliation with a certain religion. Religion helps people cope with the difficulties of life and offers up hope to those without much. We also live in difficult times economically which makes living difficult at best.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 2:25 p.m.

    Two potential factors in Utah's statistics: genetics and topography.

    There is a relatively high percentage of Scandanavians in Utah, a population that has a higher predisposition to alcoholism & related syndromes, such as depression.

    Utah is also a relatively high-elevation state. There are studies that correlate higher rates of suicide with higher elevations, with reduced oxygen levels in the brain being a potential culprit. (People with sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea also have higher rates of depression, associated with lower blood oxygenation to the brain. Higher elevations exacerbate breathing problems, obviously.)

    Certainly other factors to be identfied, as well.

  • lisa`1234 Layton, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 2:13 p.m.

    If we do take this survey at face value, here might be some contributing factors that make Utah state unique:
    1- An above-average number of youth. I have 5 'religious' teens in my house, and despite their upbringing, still go through the same emotional rollercoaster all teens do. More teens equals more teen-related issues like thinking about suicide.
    2- Above-average cultural teen expectations (push to succeed, be 'perfect' etc.) and walla you'll have a few more stressed-out kids. At our own Davis High they push the kids VERY hard to succeed.
    3- Having lived in other states like Florida I would say that the non-Mormons in Utah tend to 'spin out' more than average with drugs, alcohol, etc. It's like they want to jump to the far extreme away from the Mormon 'clean' culture. But I am only guessing at why. Hence our high substance-abuse rate like Meth, etc.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 22, 2011 2:09 p.m.

    Is anyone surprised that in a area where "perfection" is the goal, that some would feel that they can not meet these expectations. It is not totally unique to the LDS faith, but when you have such a concentration of those who care the name "Saint" as part of their title, is there any wonder you would get result like this.

    The good news is over 90 percent seem to be able to deal with the issue.... which is also a very positive when the bar has been set so high.

    It isn't a critique of the faith, just the result of an all or nothing culture.

  • Freedom-In-Danger WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 1:01 p.m.

    Kyle loves BYU/Jazz: I know of very few cases of this 'perfection plague' that people seem to think is in the air. From within the LDS Church membership- most people who I know don't expect perfection, but expect people to try to do what's right.

    I can expect that all I want and I am not wrong for doing so. I expect everyone to do the right thing. Just because we all slip or fall on certain issues does not negate this expectation. How I treat them afterward is important, and I believe that family and religious leaders may certainly make it clear that they did do wrong, but kindly encourage better choices and help people reach those goals.

    "More love for who they are" is simply loving thy neighbor as thyself. If you are implying, 'loving them anyway, despite their wrongdoings' then again I would clarify... Most people I know DO in fact love their children despite their children's mistakes. But loving someone also does not require loving their actions.

    Everyone has free agency. While I disagree about this supposed 'culture of comparison'... it is irrelevant when only you choose which 'culture' you accept and practice.

  • Kyle loves BYU/Jazz Provo, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 12:14 p.m.

    There is a culture of comparison in Utah. We need to help people feel less pressure to be perfect and more love for who they are. Life is hard enough when you aren't constantly worried about being good enough.

    It is important to note that the attempted suicide rates are the national average. That means we probably do a better job of helping those who have suicidal thoughts.

  • Carson Provo, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 11:40 a.m.

    The survey shows that All Is Not well In Zion!

  • Sassygirl Lehi, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 11:28 a.m.

    True story, when i was a teen , a took one of these surveys and said I'd thought about suicide, becuase I seriously thought about it in the philosophical sense: is it a selfish act, is it stupid, would I be able to pull the trigger, etc. I was happy and would never do the evil cowardly deed, but I had seriously thought about it......my teen stupidity perhaps skewed previous studies on Utah, but we all know these things can't really be accurate anyway. ONe study finds Utah the happiest, one the most depressed, one says lack of Vitamin D is High in UT and causes depression, one says altitude is related.....Mormons in general commit suicide at much lower rates than most Americans, can't blame it on them anymore..

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 11:21 a.m.


    You stated, "I believe that most of the posters here who say the survey is flawed would probably be less critical if the survey had shown a low percentage of people with suicidal thoughts."

    This is a fallacy in reasoning. Saying "You only accept data that fits your preconceived idea" supposes religious arguments as a refusal of truth. This is illogical. Denying how information is interpreted is not denying information, but how others use it.

    If Joseph Smith saw God, and a scientist says 'but my evidence isn't compatible with your claim, which makes you ignorant', the scientist's argument would be wrong. The religious person isn't automatically saying that credible information isn't present, but perhaps incomplete. I don't claim anything against data, just that their data doesn't negate my own data (experiences).

    Survey 1 million roses. All are red. Fine, but that doesn't negate my seeing a white rose.

    I know my experiences with more Utahn's than most survey's interact with. My brain analyzes more than simple questions. I can potentially be FAR more right or wrong than surveys. Data and analysis often miss 'grounded' or 'down to earth' information that REAL human interaction rarely misses.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Oct. 22, 2011 11:20 a.m.

    Mormon Culture departing from LDS scripture is something to consider. From a Bof Mormon point of view, it's a common occurance for people to focus on thier image rather than thier hearts. Teen Pregnancy, divorce, bankruptcy and now suicidal thoughts are all things Utah and it's culture rank highly in.

    I'm LDS, a liberal LDS and I don't see any problem with that. But even in Arizona it is. I'm probably much more conservative than a Canadian member or a Spanish member but here I'd be shunned if I spouted off overtly liberal politics like conservatives feel free to do in meetings. Universal healthcare - heaven forbid.

    My solalce is that the scriptures are VERY liberal anyway. I can quote them all I want in church but the conservatives quote Glen Beck. Church leaders have been members of the the John Birch society in the past, a terrible organization and I still hear it's influence echoing in personal opinions during preisthood meetings.

    Do as Kami suggested and move away from the dogma and culture to the light of the gospel. Utah wasn't always like this.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    Making light of serious conditions doesn't ease the situation. If that many people have suicidal thoughts, there is a problem. I see many attitudes expressed on these boards that could be contributing factors to people feeling so out of hope that they would consider suicide.

    Homosexuality or SSA, immigration, alcohol consumption, politics, debt, medical care, unemployment, religion, and even football. So many mock and ridicule the other side. "If Mr. Jones doesn't live up to my standards, he should just pack up his bags and move." "It's the Smith's fault they moved into a home they can't afford, now they should pay the consequences." "I don't want anybody to shove their lifestyle in my face all the time."

    Have you ever said any comments like those? If so, perhaps you are contributing to your neighbor's suicidal thoughts.

  • bgl Santa Monica, CA
    Oct. 22, 2011 10:43 a.m.

    This report most likely came out a few days after the 54-10 smackdown of BYU by Utah. Just the number of people who fled the LES mid third quarter--pulling at their hair and placing their hands over their ears would be enough to jump the statewide total up a couple of percentage points. The state of Utah is probably closer to 4.2 now that a few weeks have gone by.

  • krissy Sterling, VA
    Oct. 22, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    I know I'd be suicidal if I lived in Utah......

    Seriously though, Utah does have a high prescription drug abuse and treatment for depression rate. The culture and predominant religion do play a role in this and how people get treatment. In other places, the ability to self medicate and de-stress does not come with religious ramifications. Suicidal thoughts are evidence that what you are doing is not working. Depression is not something that you can just "get over" and "choose to be happy". Just because you are religious and have certain beliefs does not make you immune to depression.

    And no, Utah Mormons and not more "honest" than the rest of the nation. I resent this every time I hear it. Someone taking the time to fill out a survey is going to answer exactly how they feel.

  • Razzle2 Bluffdale, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    Perhaps many of those that thought of suicide in other states were no longer living to take the survey.

  • eagle651 Chino Valley, AZ
    Oct. 22, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    Having come from the Great Lakes area, I am surprised that the average suicide numbers are that low.

    Knowing how the weather can influence a persons state of mind, making it difficult to cope with things at least on a daily bases.

    In Michigan you can go days without seeing the sun, just grey clouds from fall to spring. Some mountainous states can also have the same conditions. Can be very depressing.

    I see the Bible belt numbers are the lowest, maybe because there is more sun to brighten their spirits.

  • Canyontreker TAYLORSVILLE, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    Two other reports I read this week...Utah has the lowest divorce rate and a higher median income.
    A lot of expectations for a Utahn. Hopefully, you don't fall through the cracks.

  • Blue Rampage Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    I think LDS culture can be a contributing factor, but this is not to say that the Church or our religion is to blame.

    LDS culture does set high standards and it is easy to feel depressed because we don't measure up. I have felt that way.

    LDS people do see this life as a stepping stone to something better and when things get tough, we may look forward to "moving on." I have felt that as well.

    Also, suicide is viewed strongly in LDS teachings and that could cause us to "think" and "reflect" upon it more deeply, especially when we know of another family who has been affected.

    Moreover, the idea that we "answer more truthfully," could be a factor.

    I believe that LDS people can become confused between what we "think we believe," and what we "really believe." Stephen Robinson's book, "Believing Christ" shed some light upon that for me. I think we must accept that we really won't work our way to perfection.

    Maybe when times are tough, the message ought to be more about hope, and less about being perfect.

  • Quayle Dallas, TX
    Oct. 22, 2011 9:55 a.m.

    The Utah anti-depressant statistic is probably meaningless on its own, without considering how citizens of other states deal with their stress.

    And yes, we're all trying to learn to developed the emotional and spiritual strength to cope with all the stresses and strains of our society, and ultimately we need to be able to handle things on our own.

    But people do turn to other aids when they are still learning how to handle their issues.

    And an anti-depressant superscription won't keep one out of the Temple, but drinking or smoking pot will.

    I think this is the cause of the high use in Utah, and not that Utahns' are any more depressed than Californians.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 9:24 a.m.

    "As I looked at the study, it was really hard to come up with any conclusions," said John Malouf, a Valley Mental Health psychologist with 37 years experience. "There was nothing really obvious like of course this state or this region would have a higher rate of suicidal thinking because of this or because of that." ~ Deseret News article


    "Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) .... Anyone considering the use of [Drug Name] or any other antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior." ~ FDA black box warning label on all Anti-Depressant medication.

    1. The FDA warning specifically links antidepressant use to suicidal thoughts and behavior.

    2. Utah has the highest use of Anti-Depressant medications in the nation.

    Mystery solved.

  • Quayle Dallas, TX
    Oct. 22, 2011 9:23 a.m.

    More thoughts of suicide, but less thoughts of drowning your troubles in a bottle of Jack Daniels.

    As a Mormon, I'd rather my son drank to escape his problems than thought of suicide.

    But I suspect I'm in a minority in that opinion, in our culture.

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 22, 2011 9:17 a.m.

    The study makes sense to me, if the study that Utah is the highest for mood altering prescription drug use is also correct. I'd suggest that people start ignoring the LDS culture more and pay more attention to the gospel. That is what I have done and I don't feel any of this cultural imposed stress to be better and more perfect than my neighbor. The gospel is all about peace, love, doing your best, etc.; the culture is all about keeping up an image of perfection.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 9:03 a.m.

    A possible explanation is that many LDS Church member "know" there is an other side and that part of their family is their. They don't just "believe" it. They also are not frightened by the traditional Christian warning that salvation is lost when one commits suicide because one (being now dead) has no opportunity to repent of what he has done (murder). For the LDS, earth life is the middle act in a three-act play and death is only a comma. Thoughts of moving on to the next phase might ill-advisedly be an appealing thought to someone who doesn't want to finish the trials of this earth life. Whatever the explanation is, someone needs to dig it out.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:58 a.m.

    Here is the most important line in the article is this:

    "As I looked at the study, it was really hard to come up with any conclusions," said John Malouf, a Valley Mental Health psychologist with 37 years experience.

  • WhatsInItForMe Orem, Utah
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:57 a.m.

    There are more Mormons per capita in Utah than any other state. That should give some kind of clue. Membership CAN be daunting for some members.

    Just ONE example (there are many others), gays who don't want their family, friends, or ward members to know they are because of the church's stance on homosexuality.

    What this tells me, if it's true that Utah Mormons are skewing the state's stats, is that the church needs to be more aware of how its members are feeling about their place in it.

    Just a thought. Not even sure myself if there's truth to it. But thought I'd put it out there.

    Kinda does explain, though, why there's more thinking about it but not the same percentage doing it (suicide), if you think about how Mormonism works for individuals.

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:55 a.m.

    Another thought: There is a certain "perfectionism" that is prevalent in Utah that is not discernable in other states.

    Part of the issue is that people need to learn how to relax, and not be so wound up. It's ok not to be in frantic mode all the time, but to enjoy one's life along the way.

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:54 a.m.

    This study is also flawed as the region for the NW includes California, according to the map. In the NW, where I live, depression is very, very high due to the overcast skies, and suicides run rampant here.

  • In Arizona Mesa, AZ
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    Why are you bringing religion, especially a specific religion, into this? To all the LDS out there, it's not always about you.

  • PA Rock Man Allentown, PA
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:44 a.m.


    Before you go off and call this study propaganda, you should click on the link in the story and read the actual study which lays out the researchers' methodology, assumptions, etc. This was a nationwide study, not something directed at Utah or Mormons or Mitt Romney. Please calm down. Also, statistics teaches us that a large diverse sample size can provide results representative of the entire population, so the researchers don't need to interview every person such as yourself in order understand the behavior of the entire population.

    I grew up in Utah and hope to move back there someday, but I must say that the results of the study are not necessarily shocking to me. There is a tremendous amount of cultural pressure amongst Utah Mormons. It doesn't come from the actual church, per se, but it part of the culture of Utah Mormonism. It a pressure to constantly appear religiously perfect, financially successfully, and physically beautiful. I am not saying that these cultural pressures are definitely the cause for the higher percentage of suicidal thoughts, but it is a hypothesis that should not be dismissed without investigation.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:43 a.m.

    This is a beautiful state, lots of lovely scenery, fairly clean air, not so crowded....
    But when an individual cannot walk their dog, or go to the gym without being asked "if they are LDS and what ward do they live in", it tends to get rather annoying,
    Don't think it sends one to the extremes of suicide, but gives you an idea of how this place works.

  • camotim Council Bluffs, IA
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:33 a.m.

    Im not dismissing potential religious factors. But I see no data in this study on religious affiliation or practice. I would posit that the suicidal ideation referred
    to in this study is, by and far, amongst non LDS and other persons of faith. When one
    is depressed seeing happy people often increases that depression and, by and large, people of faith, especially Mormons, are a very happy lot.

  • advocate4u South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:22 a.m.

    Wow, a poll that actually reads peoples minds! The results? Utah has far the most serious mental health issue, worse than the rest of the nation, because of thoughts?


    I was not interviewed. Who was? Who was behind this Poll? How large a sample? what was used to determine the sample? Mental Health clients or the medicaid population?

    Was there an underlying reason that the pollsters wanted Utah to look bad? Do the Pollsters want to scare folks who might vote for Mitt, or John?

    This is Not News, It is Propaganda, masquerading as news. How about the Deseret news find out more information on this Poll, (How it was conducted, the demographic of those polled in each State) And then report a real news story!

    I am tired of the subtle Propaganda against my religious beliefs!

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:14 a.m.

    Johnson72 Oh yeah, liquor is the cure of all ills. Isn't alcohol said to be a depressant? Maybe there are a lot of closet drinkers? You are funny

  • SL Rexburg, ID
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:14 a.m.

    There may be another factor here, such as the higher than average birth rate could equal higher than average postpartum depression, and therefore higher than average suicidal thoughts. I also suspect new mothers who have suicidal thoughts are much less likely to act on those thoughts, hence the discrepancy of thoughts vs actions.

    Having said this, LDS should not defensively dismiss potential religious factors. Not saying we need more grace in our theology, but we could use heavy doses of slowing down, lightening up, and ceasing to treat the road to heaven as the pursuit of a competitive job promotion.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:06 a.m.

    It doesn't matter how we compare to other states, if we are more honest in our answers than others, or what the cause of such thoughts are--the reality is we have a problem. Those numbers are way too high. Why aren't each one of us asking questions about what we can do to decrease those numbers? For me, I think it comes down to what I can do to be a better friend and neighbor. What can I do to make others' burdens a little bit lighter? What can I do to make people feel welcome and happy in this state? Am I able to do something to give a little bit of hope to somebody who seems to have lost it?

    Are we going to stick our heads in the ground and deny that there is a problem, or are we going to step up and be a part of a solution?

  • Mr.Glass Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:04 a.m.

    I believe that most of the posters here who say the survey is flawed would probably be less critical if the survey had shown a low percentage of people with suicidal thoughts. I don't see why everyone assumes Utahn's are simply being more honest. Let's consider the fact that young people in Utah commit suicide at a higher rate than the average American youth. Also, Utah does have a pretty high suicide rate in general, ranging up to 10% over the past few years. Let's not live in denial to satisfy a self-image.

  • Johnson72 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 7:40 a.m.

    Well I cannot blame them for the way the State is run and all them liquir laws and all.

  • Bruce T. Forbes Kearns, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 7:37 a.m.

    Like any survey or report, we would need to know a lot more about how the information was gathered and compiled. What it says to me, however, is that Uthans are far more honest than the average and more willing to seek help. These are both good traits!

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 7:08 a.m.

    I can only imagine how many comments will be posted blaming, referencing, or simply hinting at blaming the LDS Church in some form or another.

    In response I would mention an article published earlier this year, regarding Utah being No. 1 in online porn subscriptions. The problem is that data if not understood properly, can be twisted to suggest something not factual. A later Deseret News article responded to this study by showing reasons such as a higher interested in computers here, and other factors the study ignored.

    In regards to the suicide data gathered, I would state two problems:

    1) It could mean that more Utahn's answer honestly, and we're actually low in comparison to other states. It could mean that Utahn's are more honest with themselves in not denying it, yet others have just as much. It could mean lots of things but I'll end here as my point is made.

    2) All statistics, or data, is built off of inductive reasoning, which is only PROBABLE, not provable. Surveying 1000 people in REALITY says nothing about everyone else.

    I make point 2 ALL the time, yet people still make claims with empty logic promoting their agenda.

  • Ricardo Carvalho Provo, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 6:18 a.m.

    Maybe this finding has more to do with Westerners being more willing to reveal their feelings than those from the East or South. The suicide rate for Utah is not statistically different than the national average but the rate of positive response on suicidal thoughts is significantly higher. To me, that suggests either a difference in being willing to take action on intent or a difference in the way we answer questions with a social desirability angle.

    Oct. 22, 2011 5:06 a.m.

    People can either choose to be happy, or choose to be depressed and suicidal. Circumstances may affect things, but in the end, only you can choose your mood.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 4:40 a.m.

    This is disturbing. There is something in the culture here. The difference between Utah and the rest of the country is dramatic.

  • cowboy99 South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 2:51 a.m.

    So Utahn's are well above average in suicidal thoughts but right on average in actual suicides. Sounds funky to me back to the drawing board. Or maybe more Utahns were honest in their answers.

    Loved how the article really sensationalized it especially with the picture that shows only Utah and not Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado or Nevada for a better regional comparison.

  • IQ92 hi, UT
    Oct. 21, 2011 7:50 p.m.

    "A new study, The Happiest American States, reveals Utah, Hawaii, Wyoming, Colorado and Minnesota top the list of happiest states in the nation, according to LifeScience.com"

    I suppose Utahns are more inclined to be either happy OR depressed, with fewer in the middle. Which are you?