Statewide suicide prevention efforts expanding; conference addresses mental health

SALT LAKE CITY – Despite the fact that suicide is a preventable public health problem, the number of suicides in Utah has almost doubled over the past seven years. In 2005, there were 350 suicides in Utah; preliminary data from the Utah Department of Health shows 540 suicides in 2012.

  • In 2010, Utah had the 10th highest rate of suicide in the nation
  • Men had higher suicide rates than women in every age group
  • Men ages 50 to 54 have the highest suicide rate
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth ages 10 to 17

In an attempt to increase suicide prevention efforts across the state, Melanie Puorto-Conte, suicide prevention initiative director for the New York State Office of Mental Health, will provide the keynote speech at the 2013 Generations Mental Health Conference next week in Salt Lake City. She will also provide training on the use of standardized screening, assessment and safety planning tools for suicide prevention that have been widely used in New York and have been credited with reducing the state’s suicide rate.

The Generations Mental Health Conference will be held Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. More information can be found here.

Additional attempts to prevent suicide include HB 154, a bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Eliason during the 2013 Utah State Legislature General Session. The bill was signed into law on March 21 and creates two suicide prevention coordinator positions at the Utah State Office of Education and the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

The Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, in collaboration with the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition, are dedicated to the prevention of suicide in Utah. For more information, contact Amy Buehler at 801-538-3941 or abuehler@utah.gov. And if you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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1 Comment

  • Family Aware April 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    How refreshing it is to see politicians fighting for mental health. For more information about mental health care and suicide prevention, and to learn about Strides Against Stigma, please visit our website at familyaware.org.

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