When I logged into my email account today I was heartbroken to read that a student at a nearby high school committed suicide and that this was the 6th Alpine School District student lost in 2019 to suicide. There have also been numerous reported suicide attempts in our city as well as in our neighboring cities. Because we live in a small and safe community, we often don’t realize that issues such as these exist, yet the data shows that Utah’s suicide rate has dramatically increased over the past 20 years, and our city and schools have not been immune. The Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition has published the following information about suicide in Utah:
- The suicide rate in Utah has been consistently higher than the U.S. rate for the past decade
- Utah ranks 5th in the nation for suicide deaths
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death for those ages 10-17
- Every 16 hours, someone in Utah dies by suicide
This is an issue that impacts every community in Utah. As such, I wanted to share a few resources that I know of and encourage us all to have an ongoing dialogue with our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our colleagues so that we can work together to help those suffering or contemplating suicide to receive the help they need.
- Download the free SafeUT app on your smartphone. This allows users to chat with a crisis counselor via phone or text. Counselors provide a non-judgmental space to talk about your crisis and help direct you to resources.
- Add the suicide prevention lifeline to your contacts: (800) 273-8255. Counselors are available 24×7 to help.
- Take a QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training in person or online. This course provides training on suicide warning signs and information on how to talk to those who are considering suicide. Visit qprinstitute.com for training information.
- If you are worried that someone you know is suicidal, call 911 or take them to a hospital so they may receive the help. Law enforcement officials and hospital staff want to help get people to the resources that they need.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about suicide with those you love. It can be a tough conversation, but one that could save a life.
Addressing this crisis takes effort from schools, churches, communities, workplaces, and families. Working together we can help those suffering find the resources they need and reduce any stigma associated with seeking help.