In the Midst of Crisis
We continue to watch the youth mental health crisis snowball without adequate counseling, treatment, and resources for families. I personally know two families that have lost their sons this month to suicide. As we look to the future of our economy, our country relies on our ability to address the mental health crisis in our youth. Without systemic changes in our health and education systems, this crisis will continue. Right now, Utah ranks 4th in Suicide and it is the leading cause of death for males, ages 10-24. https://aws-fetch.s3.amazonaws.com/state-fact-sheets/2020/2020-state-fact-sheets-utah.pdf.
Today, the US Surgeon General warned that “young people are facing “devastating” mental health effects as a result of the challenges experienced by their generation, including the coronavirus pandemic.”
As the legislative session begins in Utah, we must continue to write our federal and state legislators, attend state and local meetings to share statistics and express the need for more mental health facilities, increase required communication between health facilities and educational institutions, and most of all never hesitate to intervene if a young person is showing signs of distress.
Signs of Distress (From the Utah State Board of Education)
Visit Youth Suicide Warning Signs(External Web Content) for additional resources on how to respond to recognized risk.
- Talk of suicide: “I just want to go to sleep and never wake up. if ____happens, I’ll kill myself.”
- Talk of feeling hopeless: “What is the point? Nothing is going to get better.”
- Talk of feeling like a burden to others. “They would be better off without me.”
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawing from activities
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
- Isolating themselves from family and friends
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Displaying one or more of the following moods: depression, anxiety, loss of interest, irritability, humiliation, agitation, rage
- Exhibiting a sudden or unexplained calm or euphoria after a long period of depression
- Saying goodbyes or tying up loose ends
Help is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
If you live in Utah, call the Statewide Crisis Line at 1 (801) 587-3000 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255) | Spanish 1 (888) 628-9454 or dial 911.
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