MILLCREEK, Utah (News4Utah) – First, it was cutting. Then, Lilith Shlosman tried to take her own life. Twice.
“I just swallowed a bunch of pills,” said the 17-year-old Millcreek girl, who was 14 at the time of her first suicide attempt.
“I was alone in my mind.”
She recalls being bullied at school after asking out a “popular boy,” Shlosman, who identified herself at that time as a “goth,” said she knew she had different interests from other kids at her middle school. But her attempts to fit in were met with ridicule, she said. That pain followed her to ninth grade, when she first attempted suicide.
Her story is one of many in the state of Utah and nationally. Teens everywhere are reporting more feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Experts believe social media and bullying have a lot to do with the increase.
In Utah, the number of teens who made a suicide plan rose from 10.8% in 2013 to 14.3% in 2017, according to a new report by the Utah Department of Health. Mental health concerns among teens continue to puzzle experts, who urge parents to hold frequent conversations with kids about how they are feeling. The report also found teens are, interestingly, making better choices when it comes to their physical health.
Now, Shlosman is enrolled in Utah Virtual Academy, preparing to go to college to study either psychology or to become a veterinarian. Her time with UTVA has helped her hone her creative writing and art skills, she said, something that has proven therapeutic for her.
She urges teens who may have suicidal thoughts to ask for help, and to hold on.
The report by the Utah Dept. of Health is startling given that suicide is still the leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in Utah.
The study also found girls seem to experience more feelings of sadness and hopelessness than boys, but those feelings among males also increased in the four years the study was conducted.