Utah youth suicides jump 141% since 2011; self-harm also up, report says

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2017 3:44 p.m.

    We are never going to be able to stop all the bullying out there. So, it makes sense to start from the time kids are little to help to with skills and self confidence to handle bullying when it does happen so it doesn't destroy them emotionally.

  • Flying Finn Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2017 11:44 a.m.

    airnaut - Everett, WA

    You may be able to convince the people in Everett, WA that it is all Trump's fault but the rest of us are smarter than that.

    What I really don't understand is why the Democrats chose Hillary Clinton to carry their banner in the 2016 presidential campaign. Her problem was with trust issues. We saw what was behind her smile when she had a meltdown on election night that even the liberal press could keep secret.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Dec. 1, 2017 11:26 a.m.


    No one is forced into having $100k in school loans. Let's quit the blaming.

    Taking responsibility and building grit for their lives is the best way to avoid depression.

    Blaming and being dependent isn't going to cut it.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2017 10:31 a.m.

    airnaut - Everett, WA

    The suicide data is from 2011 on. We can be assured that the decades long problem of suicide will never be helped if it is blamed on an less than one year elected president. Using political bias to address this problem indicates that partisanship is more important that human lives.

  • What in Tucket Provo, UT
    Dec. 1, 2017 9:25 a.m.

    Utah was 5th highest in 2012 and 4 other highest states were mountain states. Taking a cell phone away is listed as a possible cause, yet maybe these smartphones result in more loneliness. Psychologists do have some success in this field.

  • Husker2 Millbrook, AL
    Dec. 1, 2017 9:22 a.m.

    Wow, it didn't take long for someone to blame this problem on Donald Trump.

    If we really want to get serious about solving this disturbing trend, we need to take a good hard look at what has happened to morals in this country and how they have been effected by Hollywood, social media, etc.

    Common sense has all but disappeared. Pop culture mocks Christianity and refuses to allow Christian beliefs in the public square, and then we wonder why kids don't value life (including their own).

  • NotAnRorD American Fork, UT
    Dec. 1, 2017 9:12 a.m.

    Few things to consider:
    - Mental Health is one of the greatest plagues of our day. Of those who die from suicide, more than 90 percent have a diagnosable mental disorder. Many youth have mental disorders, but simply have not been diagnosed. I recommend families learn more about the signs of mental health and take their youth to a professional if they see any of the signs.
    - To that end, Medication can be an enormous blessing and literal life saver. Please don't shun or be embarrassed by having prescriptions to address mental health, any more than you would for an Rx to address a heart condition.
    - Look into the great work of Dr Doug Gray, the state's foremost expert on suicide, and founder of Hope Squads in our schools. He quotes stats on high suicide rates in Nevada, Colorado and Utah and asks, "How do SLC and Las Vegas have similar cultures?" In other words, suicide rates are high in all of those states, and culture potentially plays a much smaller role than many are pre-disposed to believe.
    - Look into the research of Perry Renshaw, a neuroscientist from U of U. He's found links between altitude and mental health issues (NV, CO and UT have high altitudes).

    Lasly - don't judge!

  • Cactus Pete Centerville, UT
    Dec. 1, 2017 8:22 a.m.

    KatyKay - Roy, UT

    When children from a very early age are taught basic concepts of morality, honesty, and human decency they grow up with a feeling of self worth. If youth wants commit suicide and doesn't have access to a firearm there are a hundred other ways to take their lives. Most girls for example take pills because they don't want to disfigure themselves.

    The basic concept is that when a girl gets a reputation her feelings of self respect go flying out the window. Kids that chose the more difficult path that includes morality have strong healthy feelings of self respect.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Dec. 1, 2017 8:03 a.m.

    Recent research in the UK found that teens who smoke cannabis daily are seven times more likely to commit suicide! Alcohol consumption should be studied similarly! But some people would discount science and continue to take the risks AND suffer the unavoidable consequences always believing it won't happen to them! Heard is all before too many times!

  • KatyKay Roy, UT
    Dec. 1, 2017 6:21 a.m.

    Two of the biggest correlations: households where the victim has access to guns (most suicides are carried out with firearms), and being in a position where you feel like you can't talk to anyone/get help. Given that, it does start to make a LOT more sense that UT is struggling with youth suicide at a much higher rate.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Dec. 1, 2017 12:16 a.m.

    Some reasons for increased suicides:

    * Moral values taught by Hollywood and many political leaders.
    * Popular music. Much of it causes depression.
    * Drinking alcohol and taking drugs
    * Divorced or fighting parents.
    * Social media.
    * Permissiveness
    * Pressure stemming from standardized tests.

  • HateNo2 PROVO, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 11:17 p.m.

    Do you think you are clever, Clark? We who are members of the LDS Church should not be so quick to deny some large share of this shameful problem. The distribution of LGBTQ people is not discriminatory by religion. All humans (and all mammalian species) have the same distribution of individuals born with sexual attraction to the same or opposite gender. But all religions do not take the same hurtful stance toward one segment of this normal distribution of human characteristics. Very few biological or social scientists are willing to exclude as a probable cause of Utah's (and other western U.S. states) higher than expected youth suicide rates the hateful culture toward gays and lesbians found in our Church. A better way to help is work for change not deny the problem we have created.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 7:55 p.m.

    This is a very serious problem that deserves much more attention. There are two things that need to be studied that were not mentioned in the article:

    1) Social Media Exposure - Even adults can experience depression after reading a constant feed of high-points in everyone else's life.

    2) Work Ethic - Hard work (not overwork) is good for mental health. Idleness is bad for mental health. Kids who work hard and serve others in their community learn to turn outward, have a higher sense of purpose and belonging.

    Nov. 30, 2017 7:49 p.m.

    It all starts and ends with the family unit.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 6:23 p.m.

    Two observations:

    1-Kids with sexual identity confusion are at heightened risk of suicide and a host of other problems no matter where they live. Homosexuals are at higher risk than the general population of drug and alcohol abuse/addiction, self harm, depression, and suicide in every nation and culture where I can find reliable data. Rates of these problems vary by culture, but whatever the culture, homosexuals have higher rates than heterosexuals. This is true no matter how accepting or protecting of homosexuals the culture is.

    This suggests to me that homosexuality is at least often co-incident with mental health problems.

    2-Regardless of sexuality, it is sadly unsurprising that suicide rates are too high. Most of us live in prosperous, good times. But we are barraged with messages of doom.

    I don't like marriage benefits for homosexuals. But it hasn't ended the world.

    Neither is Global Warming going to kill us. Reducing the size of national monuments or electing Donald Trump are not the end of the world. Neither mass shootings nor terror incidents are a major threat.

    But a lot of entities benefit by convincing us that things are very bad.

    Things are not bad.

  • Neanderthal Springville, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 5:13 p.m.

    "All together now, 'It's the LDS Church's fault'"

    You might have a point. As worf (above) notes, 'Immorality will increase suicide.' But it's not the immorality that does it. It's being taught that immorality is a dreadful sin. The guilt of sinfulness is very hard to deal with in some youth and can lead to deep despair.

  • Mick , 00
    Nov. 30, 2017 5:03 p.m.


    I have a masters degree. I make A LOT more than $37,000 dollars. I have a modest home and mortgage. Other than this I have no debt. I was able to pay off more than $75,000 dollars in student loans for my masters program in less than 5 years. I went to undergrad ( not ivy or high priced private) on scholarships and worked to pay the rest without taking out loans. No help from parents other than an occasional place to live when money was low. I have not been out of school that long.

    So yes, please have the talk to me. I can positively tell them that life is good and it can be done. However, if they choose art history for theirmasters or doctorate degree, you’re right there is no hope. You can’t expect a doctorate in anything leads to a good wage. I look forward to the grad invitation.

  • airnaut Everett, WA
    Nov. 30, 2017 4:28 p.m.

    @Mick - , 00
    Nov. 30, 2017 2:57 p.m.


    Give me a break. Trump has been the president for 11 months. Maybe his 8 year predecessor’s name should land in your comment.

    The reality is that kids do not know how to cope. They have lost this skill. Ask any college admission counselor. The incoming freshman cannot problem solve or cope. And if you don’t have these skills, despair may lead to suicidal thoughts and then actions.


    Give me a break --
    I'll remember your comment at my son and daughter's University graduations with both a Doctorate and Master's Degrees.

    Starting at $37,000 a year,
    while owing and paying on $100K can't ever buy that small starter house they worked so hard for....

    Yes, it's pretty depressing for our youth....

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Nov. 30, 2017 4:07 p.m.

    Immorality is a cause for depression and wrong has become an acceptable right.

    IMO. Permissiveness leads to jealousy, feeling of rejection, loneliness, frustration, confusion, depression, excessive drinking, anger, and thoughts of suicide.

    Moral values will decrease suicide.

    Immorality will increase suicide.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 4:05 p.m.

    William Faulkner wrote this, back in 1956, about the tragedy of adults who murder children:

    "Maybe the purpose of this sorry and tragic error committed in my native Mississippi by two white adults on an afflicted Negro child is to prove to us whether or not we deserve to survive. Because if we in America have reached that point in our desperate culture when we must murder children, no matter for what reason or what color, we don’t deserve to survive, and probably won’t." The situation is much worse now, where so many of our children don't wait for someone else to kill them but sink into the kind of despair that causes them to take their own lives." This is a very great tragedy, one for which I have no answer. It doesn't look like anybody else does, either.

  • Mick , 00
    Nov. 30, 2017 2:57 p.m.


    Give me a break. Trump has been the president for 11 months. Maybe his 8 year predecessor’s name should land in your comment.

    The reality is that kids do not know how to cope. They have lost this skill. Ask any college admission counselor. The incoming freshman cannot problem solve or cope. And if you don’t have these skills, despair may lead to suicidal thoughts and then actions.

  • JLindow St George, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 2:26 p.m.

    The top risk factor for suicide is depression.

    Generic Prozac (Fluoxetine) is $10 for a 3 month supply at Walmart.

  • Cactus Pete Centerville, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 1:50 p.m.

    @airnaut - Everett, WA
    airnaut says "...I can see and understand the despair in their lives...."

    Why don't I see despair in the lives of the young people in my neighborhood? They do volunteer work, go to school and get an education, have a plan for their future, don't expect other people care for them from cradle to grave, and are happy.

    Do they each have problems and difficulties? Heck yes. Does solving those problems and conquering their difficultiles make them stronger? Heck yes.

    It's all in your attitude. Based on your list of reasons for despair I'd suggest smelling the roses and start looking for things to be thankful for.

  • airnaut Everett, WA
    Nov. 30, 2017 1:28 p.m.

    Let see --

    They have no hope for ever having good paying jobs,
    in addition to $100k in school loans,
    their country will leave them a huge debt their parents left for them,
    they see Corporations get the benefits - they will be nothing more than slaves,
    they will probably not have health insurance,
    the Trump Administration is leaving them more polluted air, water and land,
    the rich get richer, the poor get poorer,
    perverts in office get a free pass,
    95% voted AGAINST Trump who got in office anyway with the least votes,

    ...I can see and understand the despair in their lives....

  • Hawkeye79 Iowa City, IA
    Nov. 30, 2017 1:29 p.m.

    Re: J2

    "6 out of 40 identified individuals were found to be sexual minorities? That is a very revealing percentage, and seems to run counter to the common claim that sexual minorities are more likely to commit suicide."

    Given that federal estimates suggest that only around 3% of the population are sexual minorities, the finding that 15% of identifiable cases involved sexual minorities would suggest that they are more likely to commit suicide than the average person. It's a small sample size, but it's still important to think of these in per capita terms.

  • medford Ogden, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 1:16 p.m.

    The KSL article on this topic included an interesting graph that showed the youth suicide rate going all the way back to 1999.

    Looking at the graph, it shows that using the 2011-2015 stats is misleading. The youth suicide rate was actually higher in 2002 then it was in 2011, then dipped for almost a decade before it's recent rise. Simply focusing on the last 4 years isn't going to get us any closer a solution. Better question to ask is why the peak in the early 2000s, the dip in the following decade, then the rise in the last 4 years.

    Any way the editors of the D-News could add this graph to the story?

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 1:11 p.m.

    "6 out of 40 identified individuals were found to be sexual minorities? That is a very revealing percentage, and seems to run counter to the common claim that sexual minorities are more likely to commit suicide."

    That depends. That's 15% of the suicides. Are sexual minorities more or less than 15% of the population?

  • J2 Riverton, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 12:48 p.m.

    This is a very interesting and revealing report.

    6 out of 40 identified individuals were found to be sexual minorities? That is a very revealing percentage, and seems to run counter to the common claim that sexual minorities are more likely to commit suicide.

    Also interesting to see that participation in religious activities seems to lessen the risk.

    These results are no big surprise to me, but for some they will definitely be a shocker!

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 12:19 p.m.

    @Cactus Pete
    Except young people these days on average are waiting til later to engage in those actions.

  • Mr. Moots Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 11:54 a.m.

    Love Louder isn't working. Trying to encourage more people to leave home into your safe haven isn't the answer.

    The answer is to hold on to our long established values.

    Everybody be kinder. Look for ways to help others. When people are not included they leave to find anyone who will accept them. The real answer is to Love others. It is the original idea. Still the right one.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 11:49 a.m.

    All together now,

    "It's the LDS Church's fault"

    There, now that we've blamed the usual suspect we don't have to delve deeper in the numbers behind these suicides.

    We don't have to make any effort to find out what other factors outside of religion might play a part.

    We don't make any comments about why youth suicides are going up nationwide and not just in Utah.

    We don't have to discuss any negative ramifications they may result from online bullying, less personal time with family because of cell phone use or other negatives resulting from technology.

    We will simply blame the main church in Utah, that way those who are members of the that church can feel ashamed and those doing the blaming can feel happy for themselves, believing they've actually done something of substance.

    Problem solved.

  • Cactus Pete Centerville, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 11:34 a.m.

    Today's youth are being told that anything goes, and that it is old fashioned to wait until you're married to partake of the sacraments of marriage. There is no escape from the consequences of our actions. While it may be politically correct to say it the jump in suicides should not come as a surprise.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2017 11:18 a.m.

    Children often left at home with little or no parental supervision get into trouble.
    Girls who don't put value in morality loss self respect.
    Children with parents that drug addicts have problems.

    Children that grow up in 2-parent homes where they are taught basic concepts of morality and decency make up a minority of those committing suicides. Family values make all the difference.