Safe in 60: Teen Suicide Prevention

Oct 22, 2018, 7:00 AM | Updated: 9:17 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Suicide is the second leading cause of death of teens in Utah and the state’s teen suicide rate is consistently higher than most of the nation. There are things we can do to as families, parents and a community to save lives.

On average 22 teens in Utah take their own life each year, and 400 are admitted to hospitals for attempting suicide.

Most teenage suicides are impulsive decisions. Forty percent happen among teens with no known mental illness. Because of that, there aren’t always red flags or signs. But as a parent, there are still ways you can be prepared and help your child.

The most important step is to control access to lethal methods in your home.

  • Secure any firearms with a gun lock, or in a gun safe so they aren’t immediately accessible in that moment of crisis.
  • Properly dispose of any unused medication – you’ll find drop boxes at most pharmacies and police departments. Utah Take Back day is coming up on October 27.

Work hard to have an open, honest relationship with your teen. Talk to them. Ask them hard questions, including if they have ever had suicidal thoughts.

Teach your child coping and problem solving skills, and who to turn to if they need help.

Make sure you and your teen have the Safe UT app on your phones to reach out to a counselor when needed.

In a crisis, reach out to the Suicide prevention lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

And if you notice your teen is unusually anxious, agitated or if they are withdrawing or isolating themselves, seek professional help.

If you think your teen or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, get help immediately. There are many resources out there to help, and many are free.

Read more:

CDC report on Utah teen suicide

Recommendations from the Governor’s Teen Suicide Prevention Task Force

Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition

Safe UT app

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