he Utah Department of Health observed a 141.3% increase in the youth suicide rate from
2011 to 2015 for youth aged 10 to 17 years. Specifically, from 2011–2015, 150 Utah youth aged 10–17 died by suicide; 78.0% of decedents were male. Firearms and suffocation were the most common methods of suicide. About one-third of decedents had a mental health diagnosis and nearly a third had a depressive mood at the time of suicide. Approximately 30% had a history of ideation or past suicide attempt. More than half of decedents had experienced a recent crisis in their lives. Nearly 25% disclosed their intent to die with half leaving a suicide note.
Approximately 40.4% of Utah youth who died by suicide identified as being religious, with the majority affililated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Of the 40 cases that had information on the decedent’s sexual orientation, six (15.0%) were identified as sexual minorities (LGBTQ).
A surprising finding was that 12.6% of decedents had experienced a technology-related restriction prior to their death. This included mobile phones, tablets, gaming systems, or computers being taken away by a parent or guardian.
For the 3,005 ED visits and 690 hospitalizations for self-inflicted injury among Utah youth aged 10–17 during 2011–2014, the predominant method of injury was poisoning (72.4%), followed by cutting/piercing (23.0%). CONNECT directs readers to Two Write Love on Her Arms for hope and finding help for young people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, cutting, and suicide.
Supportive social environments were found to be protective for suicide ideation and attempts. Supportive social environments are characterized by ones in which youth feel involved, valued, and able to ask for and receive help when they need it. Supportive family environments had the biggest impact on reducing suicide ideation, followed by community environments, school environments, and peer environments all reduced the odds of suicide ideation.
CONNECT Summit County is grateful for the outstanding efforts taken by the Summit County Health Department in the areas of suicide awareness and prevention. The Hope Squad and QPR training opportunities are working to create supportive interventions for our young people throughout the community.
The report can be found at this link: https://ibis.health.utah.gov/pdf/opha/publication/hsu/SE04_SuicideEpiAid.pdf
For additional information about this report, please contact Michael Friedrichs, Utah Department of Health, Tel. (801) 538-6244, email: [email protected]; or the Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health, Tel. (801) 538-9191, email: [email protected]