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Youth Suicide Rate Has More Than Doubled In Utah

Erik Neumann / KUER
Kim Myers is the Suicide Prevention Coordinator with the Department of Human Services

New data about suicide in Utah was released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Utah Department of Health today, and it’s not good. Rates of youth suicide rose by over 140 percent in Utah in recent years.

Taryn Hiatt survived multiple suicide attempts as a teenager. She says, for people considering taking their own life, admitting it, is a major burden.

"I am in such emotional pain for whatever it is that I’m experiencing that I’m thinking about ending my life. Think of the vulnerability that requires for a person to admit," Hiatt says. 

Today, Hiatt works with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She spoke during the release of a new study that shows suicide of 10-17-year-olds in Utah increased by 141 percent from 2011 to 2015.

The report was a special investigation by the CDC. It doesn’t answer the question of why but it did reveal new findings: the majority were male, 35 percent of individuals had mental health diagnoses and 15 percent identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Kim Myers is the Suicide Prevention Coordinator with the Department of Human Services.

"The big takeaway was that it’s not any one thing and to hyper-focus on sexual orientation or religion, or it’s just the family’s fault, gives other people a pass when it seems to me that the big takeaway is that everybody has to be involved. This is everybody’s problem," Myers says. 

She says for the youth who were already getting treatment, they’re clearly not doing enough. In this way, the new data creates as many questions as answers.

Michael Friedrichs is an epidemiologist at the Health Department.

"Hopefully we can use the data to do something different," he says.

Between creating better mental health services and helping kids who are at the highest risk for suicide, he adds, they can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results.

If you or someone you know needs help or support:

  • LGBT Youth Crisis & Support Lifeline, The Trevor Project
    Trevor Lifeline: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386)
  • SafeUT App Call Lifeline: 800-273-8255 The SafeUT Mobile App is available in the Apple and Google Play stores by searching “P3 Tips” and selecting “SafeUT.”
  • Utah Suicide Hotline, Valley Mental Health
    Crisis Line, 24 hours / 7 days: 801-261-1442
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255,
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition 
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