Utah working-class men at highest risk of suicide

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Utah’s suicide rate is the fifth-highest in the nation, according to the Utah Department of Health. An average of 592 Utahns die by suicide each year and more than 4,500 Utahns reportedly attempt it.

The largest group at risk might surprise you.

Working-class men between the ages of 25 and 64 carry out the highest number of suicides in the state.

“That often surprises people because we hear so much about teen suicide deaths and we don’t really talk about what happens when your dad, grandpa or uncle dies by suicide,” Jenny Johnson explained. She’s the Public Information Officer for the Utah Department of Health.

Johnson says historically, men are less likely to receive healthcare in general, especially when it comes to mental health. 

Data collected by Health.Utah.Gov backs that statement. Its research shows more men died by suicide at a significantly higher rate than Utah women but were less likely to be hospitalized and visit an emergency room.

“They may have additional stigmas where they feel they can’t talk about it or seek help and we don’t want them to feel like that,” Johnson told ABC4 News.

When and if someone asks for help, Johnson says you need to know what to say because your response could increase the risk of suicide for those who are already vulnerable. 

“It’s important that you talk about it but now we need to give you somehow to’s on how to actually do it so it’s effective and safe.”

If you or anyone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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