Utah lost 574 to suicide last year, but prevention efforts are moving forward

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  • firstamendment Lehi, UT
    March 1, 2014 3:18 p.m.

    @ 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.

  • Liberty For All Cedar, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 4:27 p.m.

    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.

  • Anonyme Orem, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 10:56 a.m.

    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.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Feb. 25, 2014 9:17 p.m.

    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.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 5:46 p.m.


    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.

  • Testimony Philadelphia, PA
    Feb. 25, 2014 9:00 a.m.

    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.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 2:09 a.m.

    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.

  • LDSareChristians Anchorage, AK
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:29 a.m.

    @ 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.

  • Anonyme Orem, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 6:27 p.m.

    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).

  • Testimony Philadelphia, PA
    Feb. 24, 2014 5:07 p.m.


    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.

  • Anonyme Orem, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 4:18 p.m.

    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.”

  • LDSareChristians Anchorage, AK
    Feb. 24, 2014 2:58 p.m.

    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.

  • LDSareChristians Anchorage, AK
    Feb. 24, 2014 2:39 p.m.

    @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?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 2:40 p.m.

    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.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Feb. 24, 2014 2:33 p.m.

    @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.

  • firstamendment Lehi, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 1:59 p.m.

    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)

  • Anonyme Orem, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 12:28 p.m.

    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.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 6:52 a.m.

    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...

  • firstamendment Lehi, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 7:24 p.m.

    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.

  • jazzer St. George, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 7:24 p.m.

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

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 6:53 p.m.

    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?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 4:05 p.m.

    @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...

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Feb. 23, 2014 3:56 p.m.

    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.

  • lonepeakstudent Alpine, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    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.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Feb. 23, 2014 1:58 p.m.

    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.

  • jrgl CEDAR CITY, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    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.

  • The Dixie Kid Saint George, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 8:08 a.m.

    @ Really??


  • Europe Topeno, Finland
    Feb. 23, 2014 3:17 a.m.

    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.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 10:49 p.m.

    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.

  • LadyMoon Crestucky, FL
    Feb. 22, 2014 8:08 p.m.

    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.

  • Aggie5 Kuna, ID
    Feb. 22, 2014 5:35 p.m.

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

  • Luke.Bahr Orem, ut
    Feb. 22, 2014 5:08 p.m.

    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.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    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?

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 3:53 p.m.

    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.