SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Gary Herbert signed five bills Monday aimed at preventing suicide by increasing suicide prevention education, providing additional reporting efforts through the state’s suicide prevention plan and expanding a comprehensive crisis response service statewide.
Utah’s suicide rate consistently ranks among the top 10 in the nation, and southwestern Utah has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, Southwest Behavioral Health Center Clinical Director Michael Cain said.
Utah also ranks highest in the nation, at 6.8 percent, for prevalence of suicidal thoughts – almost twice the national average, Cain told the Washington County Commission May 5.
Read more about southwestern Utah’s high suicide rates and what you can do.
Representatives from several organizations were present at the ceremonial signing of the bills, including the Department of Human Services, the Department of Health, the State Suicide Prevention Coalition, Wasatch County Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Northern Utah Hope Coalition.
Bills signed by the governor Monday include:
- HB209, Suicide Prevention Program Amendments. This bill requires certain professions to include suicide prevention training through continuing education requirements.
- HB 128, Maintenance of School Records. This bill simplifies school record keeping related to suicide or bullying incident reports and allows expungement of those records by the student after graduation.
- HJR 12, Joint Resolution on Homeless and Runaway Youth. This bill recognizes the month of November as Homeless and Runaway Youth Awareness Month. It also encourages continued efforts through public and private partnerships to prevent homelessness among children and teens.
- HB 364, Suicide Prevention Amendments. This bill provides additional reporting measures to the state’s suicide prevention plan, including expanding the role of the state suicide prevention coordinator and appropriating funds to the program.
- SB 175, School Safety and Crisis Line. This bill continues an existing comprehensive crisis response service commissioned by the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute and expands the service statewide. It also allows the institute to add texting capabilities to its service.
- Southwestern Utah’s high suicide rates; prevention: What do you say to a loved one?
- Officials discover possible suicide victim in Grand Canyon
- 1 suicide, 1 suicide attempt in 1 night at Purgatory Correctional Facility
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