Advocates and Governor Herbert Urge Utah Lawmakers to Be The Voice for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention



 SALT LAKE CITY, UT (February 16, 2018) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the eighth leading cause of death in Utah. On Tuesday, February 20, Governor Herbert is hosting a press conference at 10:00 a.m. in the Gold Room of the state capitol, and has invited AFSP Utah and Nevada Area Director Taryn Hiatt to speak as part of the Governor’s Task Force on Youth Suicide Prevention. Other advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will be in attendance. After the press conference, on the steps of the Capitol there will be a release of doves in honor of those lost to suicide and to bring hope to those affected by suicide. The press conference is open to the media.

“Our advocates are a passionate group of survivors. We tell our stories of loss and of surviving suicide attempts so we can create a culture that is smart about mental health and suicide prevention. We are the voice for those we have lost and the voice for those who are still here fighting to stay. We are compelled to tell our stories so that our legislators hear firsthand the devastating impact of suicide in our communities. We know that suicide is preventable and it is our goal to reinforce that message,” said Taryn Hiatt AFSP Utah and Nevada Area Director.

After the press conference, the advocates will be subsequently meeting with other lawmakers to encourage them to support HB 41 to provide a 24/7/365 Statewide Mental Health Crisis Line; HB 42 to increase access to mental health crisis resources; HB 87 to require suicide prevention training for primary care professionals; and HB 370 establishing the Suicide Prevention Workgroup.

This is the second State Capitol Day in Utah. AFSP Utah Chapter advocates are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will be visiting nearly 40 state capitols across the United States in 2018 to bring best practices in suicide prevention to state legislators and their staff. To learn more about AFSP’s advocacy efforts, visit here:

Suicide in Utah

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-44 in the state, and on average one person dies by suicide every 14 hours. In Utah a person is nearly eight times as likely to die by suicide than by homicide. Across the county, 90% of those who die by suicide had a diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Contact: Taryn Hiatt (385) 497-1680; [email protected]

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