Friday, April 20, 2018
Suicidal thoughts and behaviors among youths are important public health concerns in Utah, where the suicide rate among youths consistently exceeds the national rate and has been increasing for nearly a decade (1). In March 2017, CDC was invited to assist the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) with an investigation to characterize the epidemiology of fatal and nonfatal suicidal behaviors and identify risk and protective factors associated with these behaviors, among youths aged 10–17 years. This report presents findings related to nonfatal suicidal behaviors among Utah youths. To examine the prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempts among Utah youths and evaluate risk and protective factors, data from the 2015 Utah Prevention Needs Assessment survey were analyzed. Among 27,329 respondents in grades 8, 10, and 12, 19.6% reported suicidal ideation and 8.2% reported suicide attempts in the preceding 12 months. Significant risk factors for suicidal ideation and attempts included being bullied, illegal substance or tobacco use in the previous month, and psychological distress. A significant protective factor for suicidal ideation and attempts was a supportive family environment. UDOH, local health departments, and other stakeholders are using these findings to develop tailored suicide prevention strategies that address multiple risk and protective factors for suicidal ideation and attempts. Resources such as CDC’s Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices (2) can help states and communities identify strategies and approaches using the best available evidence to prevent suicide, which include tailored strategies for youths.