Health Department says Utah has higher suicide rates

On Tuesday, the Utah Department of Health presented to lawmakers some sobering numbers. That with still three-and-a-half months to go, the state is already on pace to beat the total number of suicides in all of 2016. Vulnerable demographics include men, teens and young people between the ages of 20 to 25.

On KVNU’s For the People program on Wednesday, Emily Pugsley of the Bear River Health Department said the figures send a warning signal that education is needed.

“From a health educator prevention standpoint, it’s hard to just look at the numbers when we want to help people right away. Understanding that the trend is increasing should send a message to each one of us that we need to be educated about suicide, and what resources are available,” according to Pugsley.

She said the health department has been working with the community to find gaps in services and promoting education on how to identify someone who might be struggling. She said resources are available but it’s also important for family and friends to not be afraid to address the subject with one they suspect may be considering suicide, but doing so in a non-judgmental way.

“USU Extension is actually offering an amazing class coming up on October 14th (called) ‘Youth Mental Health First Aid’. It’s an eight-hour course that teaches adults how to recognize the signs of a mental health concern in young people and how to respond effectively.

“A lot like Q.P.R. but it does a whole day training, so if anyone wants more information they can call USU Extension or the health department.”

Q-P-R stands for Question, Persuade, Refer which are three important steps concerned individuals can learn to help prevent suicide. Pugsley said it’s important to not just “push it under the rug” thinking it’s just a phase someone is going through.

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