Suicide has become one of the biggest health concerns in the state of Utah.
According to the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition, suicide is currently the eighth-leading cause of death in Utah. More adults in Utah have contemplated or attempted suicide than anywhere else in the United States.
The USPC also states that females attempt suicide more than males, but men die by suicide at a higher rate. Suicide can result from a combination of events and conditions, including cultural, mental health, relationship, job or financial problems.
Julia Freeman, a local nurse with more than 30 years experience, says mental illness and substance abuse also contribute to the risk of suicide.
“There has been an increase in the number of individuals that have mental illness, and the number of individuals resorting to self-medication with alcohol and drugs is also increasing,” she says.
Freeman explains that people who have suicidal thoughts often avoid counseling because of internal and social pressures.
“Also, many individuals avoid traditional treatment because of the mental illness stereotyping that society puts on those that seek help,” she says.
The state of Utah and other institutions provide different support services in order to combat this difficult situation.
While the USPC strives to stop all suicides, the organization has put forth a prevention plan with a goal of reducing suicide rates by 10 percent by the year 2021.
Salt Lake Community College is one of many colleges around the country to adopt a suicide prevention protocol. The document describes possible warning signs and includes a list of campus phone numbers that can be called if a student needs help.
The Center for Health and Counseling also offers low-cost counseling services for students who might be dealing with suicidal thoughts.
If you or someone you know is facing an urgent mental health crisis, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or call 911 and ask for a crisis intervention team officer.