Each year in the United States, suicide claims over 41,000 lives – more than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. On average, one person dies by suicide every 15 hours in Utah. On Tuesday, June 9, 2015, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, presented the Allies in Action State Award to State Representative Steve Eliason (R-Sandy, UT) for his exemplary work in preventing this leading cause of death. On Tuesday, June 23, 2015, he was recognized at the organization’s Advocacy Forum attended by more than 240 AFSP volunteer field advocates from all 50 states.
“For six years we have been honoring elected officials at all levels of government who have helped us push suicide prevention to the forefront of our legislative and regulatory process. With contributions like State Representative Eliason’s, we are much closer to achieving our goal of reducing the suicide rate 20 percent by the year 2025,” said John Madigan, AFSP vice president of public policy. “This award recognizes the invaluable contributions made by Representative Eliason, not only in public policy, but in raising the importance of mental health and suicide prevention issues in his home state of Utah.”
State Representative Eliason is being recognized for his steadfast support of suicide prevention and firearm safety and leadership over the past four years on HB 501 (2012), HB 154 (2013), HB 23 and HB 329 (2014), and this year’s HB 364, which together have significantly expanded and continue to fund statewide youth suicide prevention initiatives in Utah.
Suicide in Utah
Suicide is the 6th leading cause of death overall in Utah. Over ten times as many people die by suicide in the state annually than by homicide. Suicide cost Utah a total of $629,958,000 of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1,331,835 per suicide death.
State Representative Eliason was recognized with this award along with State Representatives Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines, WA), and Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills, OH).
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