Utah’s suicide rate has climbed 46.5 percent since 1999, and it is the leading cause of death among youth age 10 to 17. Gov. Gary Herbert has established the Teen Suicide Prevention Task Force and other preventative measures — like the creation of the SafeUT app — have been taken, but more needs to be done. This is truly a public health crisis and should be treated as such.
It takes a community, united and resolute, to reach solutions for a societal problem like suicide. On an issue as emotion-filled as this, it’s natural to want to assign blame. However, this serves no meaningful purpose and only results in division and takes away from the issue at hand.
We must engage with faith communities, make it easier to form gay-straight alliances, improve access to mental health care, and remove the stigma surrounding suicide from the conversation. I know it’s a heavy lift, but young Utahns are in crisis and it’s absolutely vital that we step up to help solve this problem.
Chair, Utah Stonewall Democrats