As September comes to a quick close, we’d be remiss to not mention the efforts that have taken place for National Suicide Prevention Month.
It’s a mental health issue that affects many Utahns and families, including our own newspaper staff.
First and foremost, we hope those in our neighborhoods and communities struggling with thoughts of suicide know there are so many people who would love to talk to you. To listen. There are many resources available, and being developed, to help you specifically and lighten your seemingly unbearable load.
It won’t be unbearable forever.
This past week, a handful of Utah’s leaders including Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, LDS Church officials, Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health, among others, shared that they had raised $1 million in private donations to match the Legislature’s $1 million donation in state funds for suicide prevention. The comments by the Utah Shooting Sports Council, who also donated, were odd given the context of the event and altogether not constructive as it tried to simultaneously inject a political agenda to promote “This can be done without legislation and further government mandates.” Never mind the number of people dying by self-inflected gun injuries, and the risk factors associated with easy access to lethal methods such as guns.
In fact, a number of studies have shown that “when lethal means are made less available or less deadly, suicide rates by that method decline, and frequently suicide rates overall decline,” the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline states.
According to the state health department, 627 Utahns die from suicide each year, and 4,574 attempt suicide. Our rate is consistently higher than the rest of the country. Families and friends who have lost loved ones by suicide know this most of all.
Access to mental-health care will continue to be an ongoing issue, and key part of suicide prevention, until Utah can provide sufficient services to the various demographics in need. These groups include youth, Latinos, LGBTQ or others where resources or communication of their availability are not readily accessible.
We can each help those we know struggling with suicide as described by Be the One To Help Save A Life campaign. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, in Utah County you can call (801) 373-7393 or 1-800-273-8255. These lines operate 24/7. Other available resources are listed at http://utahsuicideprevention.org.