SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC4 News) – Suicide is the leading cause of death for young people ages 10-17 in Utah and the seventh leading cause of death overall in our state.
Local advocates, who have felt the pain, are working to bring the devastating trend down.
Tuesday, they took their stories of loss and pain to Utah’s Capitol Hill.
Brandon Callor lost his brother-in-law.
“I felt the guilt of not seeing the signs. My wife felt the guilt because she had thought she saw the signs but didn’t expect the outcome,” said Callor, board member for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
For Taryn Hiatt, it was her father.
“When we lost him, it just became a topic we needed to better understand and address because my family was desperately searching for support and resources,” said Hiatt, area director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
With those stories in hand, Hiatt and Callor joined forces with about 90 other prevention advocates to call local lawmakers to action.
They are asking them to support four bills up for consideration this session:
House Bill 58, to create an overdose and suicide fatality examiner and the Opioid and Overdose Fatality Review Committee
House Bill 209, the Extreme Risk Protective Order, creating a court-approved process to remove weapons from someone showing extreme signs
House Bill 17, to expand access to firearm safety and suicide prevention materials.
And, a bill expected to come out soon to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth.
They say these are all crucial steps to help reach a goal set by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“We have a very lofty goal of reducing the suicide rate by 20 percent by 2025,” Callor said.
A lofty goal, driven by those who know the devastation first hand.
“This is a scary thing and a very personal issue. And, every person that is here today has a personal story and they are sharing their why,” said Hiatt.
In hope of keeping others from having to share their why down the road.