Pretty broad question, without much context, right?
I was contacted by a district in Utah the other day, asking about our #SameHere🤙Schools programs & whether we would travel w our programs for K-12s across the country (the administrator knew our home base was NY from the website).
I was actually shocked at the numbers related to Utah when she shared them w me. Now these numbers here are from 2018, but that’s not too long ago: The total number of Utah suicides of all ages last year surpassed 650, a new record high after several years of them. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Utah youths ages 10 to 17. The state’s suicide rate for all ages is MORE THAN 60 percent above the national average.
That last number shocked me – more than 60 percent the national average?? Even as an advocate, I know numbers like we are losing approximately 1 million per year, worldwide, to the suicide epidemic, & in the US over 40k per year, 22 per day being veterans. BUT it’s another level to see the state-by-state differences here in the US & study the WHY!
What makes Utah diff than NY? Diff than California? Similar to Montana (a state also w high suicide rates)? I know there are organizations studying some of these things but we need more funding for these studies & they need to be prioritized bc: we have states that BORDER each other, w completely diff rates of suicide not just for youth.
Things that come to mind: pace of life, activities/distractions, the role of religion on lifestyle and specifically the lgbt community & acceptance, wage differences, cost of living differences. Yes I know there are a ton of factors that go in…but if in the same United States, we can have that type of fluctuation from state to state in terms of the # of deaths by suicide, there must be a ton we can learn from the commonalities in the states where the rates are the highest, & remain the highest.
It’s hard work, it’s not overnight work, but it’s work that must be done bc some of the answers may be there waiting for us.