The sad truth

Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, accidents and gun violence are just a few of the reasons a loved one might be taken away. Society grieves for the loss of life, for the college that will go unattended and for the family with an extra empty chair at the table.

 

However, some would argue one cause that seems to go overlooked requires every degree of our attention: the number of daily suicides in society. Taryn Aiken, chair for the Utah Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, lost her father in 2002 to suicide.

 

“People are very hesitate to talk about it [suicide], it’s in a way considered shameless,” Aiken said. “However 90 percent of suicides have undiagnosed mental illness, we need to talk about it. Talking about it helps reduce the risk and end the stigma. Our brains can get sick, mental illness is a disease and needs to be treated like one.”

suicide

 

According to the Utah Department of Health, males have higher rates of suicide, while women have higher rates of suicide attempts. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Utah for young adults ages 17-24 and teenagers ages 10-17.

 

In a study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Utah has the highest percentage of suicidal thoughts among its population at 6.8 percent, compared to the average 3.7 percent nationwide.

 

Every day, five people under the age of 24 are checked into a hospital for attempted suicide in the state. Recognizing this major health concern, the Utah Legislature passed HB 501 in March 2012, which would require all Utah public school teachers to have suicide prevention training.

 

“We don’t tell people with diabetes to snap out if, get over it, it’ll get better,” said J.C. Graham, program coordinator for Suicide Prevention and Awareness at UVU. “We encourage them to be proactive in their treatment and get help.”

 

Each day, approximately 105 people in the US take their own life, in contrast to 87 who are lost due to gun violence.

 

“Both are tragic events, but a suicide in contrast is preventable,” Graham said.

 

People who have attempted suicide report feeling deep depression, loneliness, drug or alcohol abuse and stressful life situations, such as family loss or relationship problems.

 

“If you’re interacting or you yourself have thought of suicide, you don’t have to deal with it alone,” Graham said. “There is help available, on campus, in the community, and the lifeline is open 24/7. Just have the courage to hold on, because there are people that care and are willing to provide support.”

 

Resources available to UVU students include on-call therapists; the first session is free. Additional sessions are $10. Alternate arrangements can be made if payment cannot be made.

 

For more information on suicide prevention, students can call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1800-273-TALK or visit afsp.org.

 

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