June 9, 2000
A new government survey says that although Utah teens are healthier than their peers nationwide, they are more likely to commit suicide.
News Specialist Shelley Osterloh explains what the report says and what state health officials are doing to find out what Utah kids need.
First the good news: Utah students have the lowest rate of smoking and one of the lowest rates of drinking and abusing drugs.
The report also says Utah students attempt suicide less than their peers nationally-- 7 percent versus 8 percent.
Now the bad news: The actual rate of suicide in Utah is much higher than the national average.
Of the 15 to 24 year olds who died in 1997, 20 percent killed themselves.
That makes suicide the state's second-leading single cause of death behind car accidents.
Of the 10 to 24 year olds who died in the United States nationally, 12 percent killed themselves, making it the fourth leading cause of death nationally.
Utah's health department has been studying Utah suicides since 1996 to determine why the victims killed themselves and how the state can prevent other deaths.
They have been interviewing family members of victims to determine what preceded the suicide.
The study should be finished this summer.
Teen Suicide Links