Utah’s teen suicide rate is 60 percent higher than the national average and, even though the 2018 Legislature took steps to help reduce these tragedies, two-thirds of Utahns say not enough is being done to prevent youths taking their own lives, a new UtahPolicy.com poll shows.
Dan Jones & Associates finds that 65 percent of Utahns say “definitely” or “probably” not enough is being done to “address and prevent” teen suicide in the state.
— Only 27 percent say the issue is getting enough attention by officials.
— And 8 percent don’t know.
GOP Gov. Gary Herbert, backed by a number of legislators, has initiated a special task force to study teen suicide in the state and seek preventive alternatives.
It’s come up with some preliminary recommendations.
Utah’s teen suicide rate is growing, year after year – 44 in 2017. Five in one local high school.
Mental health professionals don’t know exactly why, although there are some indications – including Utah’s strong LDS, family-based institutions where some gay or otherwise non-traditional youths may not find accepting friends or family.
Ironically, Jones finds that “very active” Mormons – while still believing not enough is being done to prevent teen suicides – are the group most accepting of the status quo in this area:
— 34 percent (or one-third) of very active Mormons say enough is being done by the state on teen suicides.
— 58 percent said more should be done.
All other religious groups are more critical of state efforts in fighting teen suicide:
— Among those who said they are “somewhat active” in their LDS faith, 70 percent say not enough is being done, 22 percent current efforts are enough.
— And among those who said they used to be Mormons, but no longer practice the faith, 88 percent say not enough is being done, while just 10 percent disagree.
— 60 percent of Protestants say the state is not doing enough to prevent teenage suicides; 24 percent say current efforts are enough.
— 73 percent of Catholics say not enough is being done; only 21 percent disagree.
— 74 percent of those who said they belong to some other faith say not enough is being done; 25 percent say what is being done is sufficient.
Finally, 78 percent of those who said they have no religion say enough is not being done, while only 14 percent disagree.
Republicans are a little more OK with the status quo, although 56 percent still say more needs to be done; 36 percent, or a third, say current efforts are enough.
Democrats are very upset about the state of efforts to stop teen suicide; 88 percent said not enough is being done, only 7 percent said current efforts are enough.
Those who don’t belong to any political party – independents – also want more action; 68 percent said the state needs to do more, only 23 percent say current programs are sufficient.
Those closest to the problem in age – those 18 to 24 years old – are the most displeased with state efforts:
— 77 percent of that age group say not enough is being done, while just 18 percent are satisfied.
— Those 65 and older are the least concerned; 57 percent said more needs to be done, while 31 percent say current programs are OK.
Jones polled 615 adults from May 15-25. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.