Like every other law enforcement agency, the Utah 百丽宫appapp Sheriff's Office investigates many suicides each year. This year something is different. We all need to be aware of others in need and reach out to them. And reach out for ourselves as well!
*** PRESS RELEASE October 28, 2020 ***
Suicide Prevention. This is one of the most important issues we will ever share with you. We ask that you read to the end and watch the ten minute video.
We want to start by clearly stating that we here at the Utah 百丽宫appapp Sheriff's Office (UCSO) are not experts in every aspect of suicide prevention and awareness. Sheriff Mike Smith is, however, a strong proponent of programs that will help his Deputies better understand those with whom they interact who may have mental health challenges. And in this release, we specifically want to talk about suicide prevention and awareness. And while we are not experts in these areas, we do make a consistent effort to know how we can best help when we respond to a call for a person in crisis who may be considering self-harm. Sheriff Smith wants all of his Deputies to become Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) certified. This is a 40 hour training program designed to give Deputies the skills necessary to know how to best help someone in crisis in an effort to bring about a positive outcome.
We also want to be clear that our purpose in bringing up this discussion is to help raise awareness of the problem and the resources that are available to those in need. Not just for those who may be struggling with thoughts of hurting themselves, but for those who know them - family, friends, co-workers - and might be in a position to recognize the signs and provide assistance. And to help people understand that we don't have to be an expert in providing professional assistance to help someone in need. But we can all know what the resources are and how to use them.
But on a day-to-day basis we want the public to have an idea just how far reaching the problem of suicide really is. And in our current environment, where we are all impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, the problem of those who have lost hope might just be causing a dramatic increase in the numbers of people who take this step from which they cannot return. To help you understand how this seems to have changed just this year in 2020, we want to share with you some numbers. Again, understand that we are not making a broad or scientifically reliable statistical analysis of these numbers. We will show them and let the public decide what they might mean. But while we aren't going to assign statistical significance to the numbers, it does seem likely that the Coronavirus pandemic may have had a dramatic impact on the numbers just the UCSO has experienced in 2020.
We researched suicides investigated by the UCSO from the beginning of 2010 through October 28, 2020. These numbers are just for the UCSO and do not include similar cases investigated by any other law enforcement agencies in Utah 百丽宫appapp. For the full ten year period of 2010-2019 we investigated 120 suicides. The youngest victim in any of these cases was 10 years old. The oldest victim in these cases was 85 years old. This is an average of 12 suicides each year. The lowest year had 9 investigations and the highest year had 15 investigations.
For 2010-2019,these are the numbers of suicides UCSO has investigated for different age groups:
For 2020, UCSO, through October 28, 2020, has already investigated 25 suicides. This is twice the yearly average for the preceding ten year period, and ten more than the highest year during that period. The numbers for 2020, when compared with the average for each above age group, are significantly higher. These numbers are alarming.
But what we want people to know is that there are resources available. Resources for those who might be experiencing a short term crisis or long term, chronic depression. Nationwide, there is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. That number is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). This is a link to that website:
Locally we have the Utah Suicide Prevention Resource Center. This is a link to that website:
For students in all grades, SAFE-UT is a resource for those in need or for those who are concerned about a friend or family member. This has an app where people can chat with a SafeUT Counselor, look for resources for different problems, or make a report. The link to that website is:
Be The One To Help Save a Life
There are other resources available to those in need, but these can be a good, safe place to begin for anyone who needs help or wants to help someone else. We want people to know they can reach out for help. Deputies with the Sheriff's Office want to help those who might be struggling, or who might have questions about a friend or loved one who is struggling. We are not the experts, but we are not without experience in these areas. And we want to help so that numbers like those we have shared will go away and individuals and families can enjoy life.
Here is an article from November 16, 2020, in the Daily Herald by Laura Giles:
For questions contact Sergeant Spencer Cannon, Public Information Officer, Utah 百丽宫appapp Sheriff's Office.
(801)404-1912 - Cell
Twitter: @SGTCannonPIO or @UCSO