New, Landmark Mental Health Study In Utah Shows Growing Demand For More Providers

Aug 14, 2019, 9:01 PM | Updated: Aug 15, 2019, 10:52 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A new, landmark study on mental health in Utah shows just how wide the gap is between people who need services and the help available. The need is particularly urgent for Utah teenagers. The report shows suicide is the leading cause of death for people in Utah ages 10-24.

Laura Warburton never tires of telling her daughter’s story.

“Hannah was vivacious. She was sassy. Stubborn, not sure where she got that from,” her mother described. “And at the same time was a typical teenager and hid her pain, and believed her thoughts that there was no hope. She believed those lies.”

After 15-year-old Hannah Warburton attempted suicide, her mother sought help. “We tried to put her in the hospital, but there wasn’t a bed open,” she said.

They turned to therapy but couldn’t get into a doctor for six weeks. In a moment of crisis, Hannah called her doctor’s office seeking immediate help, but it didn’t come quickly enough.

“She decided enough was enough and she killed herself,” Laura Warburton said. Hannah Warburton’s story illustrates the gaps in mental health services in Utah shown in a new Gardner Policy Institute study.

The report shows there are currently only six child psychiatrists for every 100,000 children. Frankly put, there aren’t enough providers in the state and it could take us 15 years to catch up to the national average which wouldn’t even meet Utah’s needs.

Laura Summers, Senior Health Care Analyst at the Gardner Institute, authored the report. “So while we have this increasing demand, we also don’t have the supply in place to meet those increasing needs for the state of Utah,” she explained.

The statistics are startling. Nearly 15 percent of boys and about 30 percent of girls ages 15-17 in Utah have seriously contemplated suicide, yet almost 40% of Utah’s depressed youth did not receive treatment.

Representative Steve Eliason said the report will be key to finding solutions.

“It’s a landmark report in terms of the state of the mental health system in Utah — what some of our challenges are. Some of them were quite surprising, even for those of us who have worked on this issue, but I think it also lays a roadmap for future reform,” he said.

Representative Eliason said Utah is already creating Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams through UNI located in several counties through the state. They act as unmarked ambulances to help people in need on location.

After the 2019 legislative session, Representative Eliason’s efforts helped fund four new psychiatry residency slots at the University of Utah for the next four years. He said they trying to find incentives to keep those new doctors practicing in the state.

The legislature also approved additional funding to increase resources for the SafeUT app and youth suicide prevention programs.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Healthy Mind Matters

Parent Kristen Pexton said the SHARP survey gave an insight into what's happening with her teenager...
Mike Anderson

How helpful is Utah’s SHARP survey? Parents have just days to give input

Utah parents have one more week to give their feedback on the State Board of Education's decision to pull its support for the Student Health and Risk Prevention survey, otherwise known as SHARP.
5 days ago
Jed Boal

Love Hard Foundation making positive difference in Utah teens’ mental health

The Love Hard Foundation was started in January to make a positive difference in the mental and emotional health of Utah teens. Each week, the nonprofit is getting more involved in schools and communities.
12 days ago
Carla Jones, center, was joined by her daughter and a friend at the Out of the Darkness Walk in Wes...
Debbie Worthen

‘We miss her’: Annual Out of the Darkness Walk helps raise awareness of suicide

A crowd of thousands, and nearly $250,000 raised — all for the fight against suicide at the annual Out of the Darkness Walk in West Jordan Saturday morning
22 days ago
Ashley Moser

New nationwide 988 suicide and crisis hotline sees success in Utah

The new three-digit hotline has seen a 35% increase in calls from the old 10-digit number year-to-year.
23 days ago
Dana Clemmer shares photos of her daughter Talyn with KSL's Ayanna Likens. (KSL TV)...
Ayanna Likens

Life’s Worth Living Foundation supports those struggling with mental health and loss survivors

TOOELE, Utah — The Life’s Worth Living Foundation in Tooele has provided support for those struggling with their mental health and supporting them through the grief of losing a loved one. The foundation supported Deborah Bush after losing her son Jayden to suicide in January of 2021. “It’s definitely not easy,” Bush said. Jayden was […]
24 days ago
Intermountain healthcare launched a new mental health resource that will visit children and teens i...
Ayanna Likens

A new free mental health resource in Utah will visit children in their moment of crisis

Intermountain Healthcare launched a new mental health resource for children and teens. The Stabilization Mobile Response unit (SMR) is designed to go to your home in a discreet way to help your child in crisis. The service is free.
24 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
New, Landmark Mental Health Study In Utah Shows Growing Demand For More Providers