As of 2018, Utah has the third highest teen death by suicide rate in the United States. Of Utahn’s ages 10 to 17 years old, approximately 19% considered or planned suicide, and 9% attempted suicide. There could be many reasons for such high rates in Utah like geographical location (Wyoming has the highest teen suicide rate), school environments, family life, religious situations, and even political climate. I wanted to research further this topic, attempting to uncover Utah’s unique circumstances that is causing teen suicide.
In an article disucssing Utah’s high suicide rate, Luke Ramseth investigates possible roles of religion and technology that contribute to this, as well as focussing on the LGBTQ+ community and suicide. Ramseth states that “The state’s suicide rate for all ages is more than 60 percent above the national average”. He explains that suicide is the leading cause of death in Utahns ages 10-17, and Utah has a great lack of prevention programs. In order to lower this rate, Utah needs to create better, more effective prevention programs as well as create a more accepting and open space for struggling teens, especially those in the LGBTQ+ community.
In a similar article , Heidi Hatch discusses other possible causes to why Utah’s teen suicide rate is so high and what we can do to fix it. Hatch mentions that suicide rates across the western states are high, correlating with the easy access to firearms in this area. She states that “45% of Utah’s youth suicides were committed with a handgun”. In addition to this, Utah has a severe lack of mental health counselors and treatment centers. If we want to lower Utah’s increasing teen suicide rate, we need to create more quality ways of getting help, and on a larger (even national) scale, move towards gun control/limitations.