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The Crossroads Journal

Youth suicide leading cause of death in Utah for ages 10-17

By Danielle Palmer
Suicide is a difficult subject for many to discuss, especially childhood suicide. But the dialogue is increasing as suicide has now been named the number one cause of death in Utah for ages 10-17, according to state health reports. The 2015 Utah Prevention Needs Assessment finds an average classroom of 30 in Utah may have 5 students who seriously considered suicide in the past year, 4 who made a suicide plan in the past year, and 2 students who attempted suicide in the last year.

Forefront in this conversation is the question of prevention. What can we do?

State middle and high schools are required to implement a suicide prevention program and train all staff, also offered to parents. Hope 4 Utah is one good example of a school program initiative in Utah County, and good resources are found at hope4utah.com.

In Eagle Mountain, a 19-year-old citizen, Jade Dansie, recently started a non-profit organization for teen suicide prevention called The Alive Movement. They plan to travel the nation visiting schools and providing education and motivational speeches on recognizing depression and steps to improve mental health. A go-fund-me page has been started to fund their efforts, as they also hope to raise enough to provide professional therapy to high-risk teens and provide further online resources. If you wish to donate, go to gofundme.com/thealivemovement.

Additionally, the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition holds public meetings on the second Monday of every other month. According to their plan provided online, risks include mood disorders, substance abuse, access to lethal means, and prior suicide attempts. Gay and transgender teens who were highly rejected by their parents and caregivers were more than 8 times as likely to attempt suicide compared with gay and transgender teens who were not at all or only rejected a little by the same.

Protective factors consist of effective behavioral health care, connectedness, contact with caregivers, and healthy problem-solving skills. It is acknowledged that it is not enough to focus on one risk factor or one protective factor, but address as many in as many settings as possible. Prioritize safe and effective reporting of suicide, increased access to quality behavioral and physical health care, increased connections, reduced access to lethal means, providing more coping and problem-solving skills and support to survivors of suicide loss. The full plan can be found on their website, utahsuicideprevention.org.
The community news source for Eagle Mountain Utah, Saratoga Springs Utah, Lehi Utah, American Fork Utah, Highland Utah, Alpine Utah, and The Cedar Valley, including Cedar Fort Utah and Fairfield Utah. Copyright 2017 The Crossroads Journal LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 





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