No mother wants to hear her child speak the words “I want to die.” But for parents of children battling depression, that is a fear. And for me, it became a reality when one of my sons was struggling and needed help.
On Tuesday Attorney General Sean Reyes’ chief of staff Missy Larsen and state Rep. Steve Eliason presented to our county council on this issue. They spoke of Utah’s suicide rate (5th highest in the nation), and discussed how suicide is now the number one killer of Utah teens. The rate of suicide by seniors is climbing in Utah.
Wednesday I spoke to the legislature’s Political Subdivisions interim committee about this issue. I was moved by how passionate the legislators were about addressing this issue. So many had had personal experiences with it in some capacity, whether through a family member or someone in their church congregation.
This week I learned there is incredible consensus and support for establishing a statewide, dedicated, three digit mental health crisis line to connect more Utahns with needed support. I know that 311 has been floated in the past for this purpose. Our coalition working on this issue will look at all numbers available and determine the best one that will fit the needs.
I know there are many people still struggling, both parents aching for their children and individuals grappling with these issues themselves. It is imperative that we prioritize solving this issue. We’ll be working hard in the coming weeks and months to find a solution. In the meantime, everyone should download the SAFEUT app on your smartphone. And in times of crisis you can always call 801.587.3000 to talk to a trained counselor in a free and confidential call.
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Aimee Winder Newton has been serving on the Salt Lake County Council since January 2014. She is the current chair of the council. Her district encompasses Murray, Taylorsville, West Valley City and West Jordan, and a small portion of South Salt Lake and Millcreek... [read more]