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New! Youth Suicides in Utah Infographic

Youth Suicide

Utah has the 17th highest youth suicide (ages 10-17) and the 11th highest young adult (ages 18-24) suicide rate in the U.S. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for Utah youth (ages 10-17) and young adults (ages 18-24). On average,

  • Two youth (ages 10-17) are treated for suicide attempts every day in Utah.
  • Three young adults (ages 18-24) are treated for suicide attempts every day in Utah.

More females attempt suicide than males, however, males are more likely to die from suicide than females. Poisoning was the most common method of injury leading to youth ED visits and hospitalizations for suicide attempts. Suffocation was the most common method of suicide death among youth.

There are age-specific circumstances and stressors surrounding risk for suicide deaths in Utah. For example, youth who completed suicide were more likely to have school and other relationship problems, while young adults were more likely to have intimate partner problems. Among adults, the data show many suffered from a diagnosed mental illness. Adult men in particular face a myriad of other risk factors, including alcohol and substance abuse and job or financial problems. Older adults were more likely to suffer from physical health problems that may have prompted the suicide.

Additional data on sucides in Utah can be found in the Suicide in Utah, 2006-2010 reports (Youth, Young Adult, Women, Men, and Older Adults).

Utah Youth Suicide Study

Utah’s consistently high youth suicide rate prompted the development of the Utah Youth Suicide Study. Death certificates provided by the Office of the Medical Examiner andadditional data from multiple government agencies was collected on 151 Utah youth suicides. Results showed:

  • 89% of the suicide decedents were male.
  • Referral to Juvenile Court was a risk factor for completed
    suicide, with 63% of suicide decedents having had contact with the juvenile courts.
  • 54% of the decedents who had contact with juvenile court had a referral(s) for substance possession, use, or abuse and 32% had one felony referral.
  • 23% had a special education evaluation, primarily for behavioral disorders.
  • 35% had either a suspension or expulsion from school.
  • Only 1% of the suicide decednts were In public mental health treatment at the time of death. Research indicates at least one in five youth under age 18 who have been arrested have serious mental health problems. However, mental health services for youth in juvenile offender facilities are insufficient. Even fewer resources are available for juvenile offenders involved with probation officers outside juvenile facilities in Utah.
  • Early mental health interventions through the juvenile court system can be a cost-effective way for reaching teens at risk for suicide. Treatment should include both psychiatric care and in-home behavioral intervention.

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Prevention Tips

If you or someone you love has thought about or expressed suicidal thoughts, help is available.

  • Call for help. Help is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If you live in Utah, call the Statewide CrisisLine at 801-587-3000 or call the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine at 1-800-273-TALK.
  • Take any threat of suicide seriously.
  • Do not leave the person alone.
  • Listen to and don’t judge anyone you think may be in trouble.
  • Take action. Remove guns or pills to prevent a suicide attempt.

Risk Factors for Suicide

There are many risk factors for teen suicide, including:

  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • History of depresion or mental illness
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Family history of suicide or violence
  • Easy access to lethal methods (such as guns or pills)
  • Stressful life event or loss
  • Relationship or school problems

Media Guidelines for Reporting on Suicides