Suicides, Suicides Attempts on Rise for Utah Kids

HOLLADAY, Utah (ABC 4 UTAH) – Suicide is the number one killer of Utah kids.  There was a 41% increase in youth suicides between 2012 and 2013.  The number of attempted suicides is also on the rise.

“It was her laugh and her smile. It was her smile that you just couldn’t forget,” said LOSS Board Member Blair Nastasia.

Blair Nastasia spotted a change in her best friend Telesa.

“She wasn’t participating in things she liked to do.  She was talking to me a little be less.  She seemed more sad than normal,” said Nastasia.

Talese committed suicide in 2010.  More Utahns are taking their own lives each year, especially utah kids between the age of 10 and 19.  Even attempted suicides are up.  According to new numbers released by Voices for Utah Children.  In 2000, 164 Utah kids were hospitalized from suicide attempts and in 2013, 256.

“Because their brains aren’t quite developed that those processes aren’t all there.  So it can be hard as an adult to remember that when you’ve had a fight with a friend, or are doing bad in school, or troubles at home those really are serious issues for kids,” said Utah Department of Health Unintentional Injury Prevention Coordinator Jenny Johnson.
Just last week, a Corner Canyon High School student’s body was found after a self-inflicted gun shot wound.  Research shows risk factors like substance abuse, mental health issues, sexual identity, or bullying lead teens to this epidemic.

“Family is the strongest protective factor against suicide ideation. I think its crucial that people know that because it’s not hopeless. There is help out there,” said Johnson.

Blair represents LOSS, an organization for people who’ve lost someone to suicide.  So the cycle ends.

“If you’ve lost someone with suicide and you go into a depression or mental illness and feel like that just perpetuates the cycle. We provide support for those people and give them a place to talk about their loved ones,” said Nastasia.

The National Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 (talk)
UNI CrisisLine 1-801-587-3000   

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