Monday, April 24, 2017

How Safe is the Playground Where Your Child Plays? Learn what to look for during National Playground Safety Week

(Salt Lake City, Utah) – When the bell rings for recess, school children make a dash for the playground. But for nearly 1,700 children attending public elementary schools – enough students to fill 24 school buses – playgrounds will be the cause of bumps, bruises, and even broken bones. In response, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD), and LuckyDog Recreation held a playground safety inspection to highlight common hazards and ways to keep children active and safe on playgrounds.

“We want to make sure that kids are getting outside and staying active but doing so safely,” said Hillary Campbell, student injury reporting technician with the UDOH. Common playground safety hazards include loose bolts, cracks in slides, inadequate or improper surfacing materials, missing or damaged parts, rusted or corroded metals, and damage caused by vandalism.

“We inspect playground equipment to make sure there are no protruding nails, frayed ropes, or broken parts,” explained Zach Torres-George, environmental health scientist with the SLCoHD. “We also look for things that people might not consider such as the distance between horizontal bars so a person’s head can’t get stuck; making sure slides are shaded or face north; and trash, broken glass, or animal droppings in the play area.”

Data from the UDOH showed that from 2012 to 2015:
  • 67.1 percent of student injuries in Utah elementary schools occurred on a playground.
  • More playground injuries occurred during 5th grade than any other grade.
  • Most elementary school playground injuries (83.6 percent) occurred during recess. The most common activities during which these injuries occurred were playing on bars (26.5 percent), running (23.5 percent), and walking (6.0 percent).
  • Falls were the cause of 37.8 percent of all playground injuries, followed by tripping or slipping (29.7 percent) and collisions (23.7 percent).
  • The top three injuries received included possible fracture/broken bone (50.2 percent), cut/laceration (14.4 percent), and bump/bruise/contusion (9.3 percent).  
Christine Christensen, principal at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School welcomes regular inspections. “We have 750 students using the playground equipment every day.  One would expect there to be wear and tear on the equipment and repairs needed. The inspections help us to be proactive in keeping the playground in good repair and ensuring the safety of all our students.”

UDOH has the following recommendations for schools to keep playgrounds safe:
  • Establish and enforce playground safety rules (such as no pushing, crowding, or shoving).
  • Always have trained adult supervisors present whenever children are playing on the equipment.
  • Develop a playground inspection and equipment maintenance checklist.
  • Promptly repair broken playground equipment and make sure proper surfacing materials are used (such as wood chips, pea gravel, shredded rubber mulch, etc.).
  • Schedule regular inspections.
Injury hazards don’t just exist on school playgrounds. Torres-George hopes that the public will be their eyes and report problems. “We can’t be everywhere all of the time so we rely on the public to help. If you’re concerned about a safety hazard at a public playground, report it to the parks and recreation department in that area.”

Tips to keep playgrounds and play surfaces safe, potential hazards to watch for, and inspection checklists can be found at

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Media Contacts:
Tammy Kikuchi, UDOH
(o) 801-538-6426
Pam Davenport, SLCoHD
(o) 385-468-4122 (m) 801-209-0986

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Empowering Bystanders to Stop Sexual Violence

(Salt Lake City, Utah) – One in three Utah women will experience some form of sexual violence during their lives. Studies also show that one in eight Utah women and one in 50 Utah men will be raped. The direct and indirect costs resulting from sexual violence in 2011 alone totaled almost $5 billion, which was about $1,700 per Utah resident. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) will begin using a promising new strategy, called bystander intervention, to equip citizens with the skills and tools necessary to prevent sexual violence.

“Bystander intervention is simple to understand; however, it’s often not practiced because people lack the confidence and training to intervene in potentially violent situations,” explained Marty Liccardo, men’s engagement specialist with the UDOH Violence and Injury Prevention Program.

Bystander intervention occurs when someone intervenes before, during, or after a situation that is violent or harmful to another person, group, or community. For example, a bystander could interrupt an argument between friends or partners, tell someone not to bully or criticize another person, or get help for someone who is being harmed or victimized.

Research suggests bystander intervention is effective but requires practice to be successful – individuals need to learn skills and practice those skills in order to be prepared to do something when the time comes. “Many people just aren’t sure what to do to help others or they think someone else will help. Bystander intervention aims to empower people to step up and act when they hear or see harm,” said Liccardo.

This strategy is appealing to prevention professionals because it can reduce victim-blaming, shift unhealthy and negative social norms to more positive beliefs, and help every person find their place and responsibility in violence prevention.

The UDOH will offer bystander intervention trainings for community agencies to coincide with April being National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Distraction and “silent stares” or making people aware that they are being observed are just a few of the strategies that will be taught to diffuse a potentially violent situation. Other bystander intervention tips include:
  • Make sure you are safe first and will continue to be safe when you intervene.
  • Recruit others to help you.
  • If you can’t intervene safely, call for help.
“We hope the training actually moves people from being bystanders to what we call ‘upstanders’ or anyone who steps in or responds when they believe someone is being harmed,” said Liccardo.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted and needs help, call the Rape and Sexual Assault Crisis Line at 1-888-421-1100. The hotline is free and open 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

For more information about bystander intervention and sexual violence prevention, visit

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Media Contact:
Tammy Kikuchi
Violence and Injury Prevention Program
(801) 538-6426

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Preventing Youth Injury and Violence by Changing Social Norms

(Salt Lake City, Utah) – Injury is the leading cause of death for youth aged 1-19 in Utah. Today, state and local public health officials gathered at a summit sponsored by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and Safe Kids Utah Coalition to discuss how changing social norms in a community can decrease injuries and violence among youth.

Social norms are the perceived standards of acceptable attitudes and behaviors prevalent among members of a community. In other words, the rules of behavior that are considered normal among a group of people. These norms may change over time based on one’s surrounding environment or situation. Social norms can be as simple as shaking someone’s hand when greeting or as complex as preventing binge drinking among college students.

Michael Haines, founding director of the National Social Norms Resource Center, spoke to attendees of the Utah Safe Kids and Injury Prevention Summit. Haines has several decades of experience using social norms to change behaviors regarding alcohol and substance use, sexual violence, and injury prevention.

“Human beings are social animals. We tend to follow group norms. The Social Norms Approach uses this tendency to move people to lower their risk of injury. When people see messages like ‘Most Utah citizens think it is wrong to use violence to settle arguments’, then violent behavior is reduced,” remarked Haines

Those attending the summit discussed how social norms strategies could be used to curb the number of suicides among Utah youth. Data from the UDOH showed that suicide was the leading cause of death for youth aged 10-17 in Utah in 2015. “There are several effective social norms strategies we are beginning to use in Utah. First, emphasizing to people experiencing suicidal thoughts that they are not alone. Second, that effective help is available. And third, that recovery is within reach,” said Andrea Hood, UDOH suicide prevention coordinator. “We are also striving to change social norms to let people know there are effective treatments for mental health conditions and countless stories of survival.”

Sexual violence prevention efforts are changing too. About 30 percent of Utah high school students who are dating experience some form of dating violence. “In terms of violence and sexual violence, we want to change social norms by promoting more equitable gender norms and decreasing acceptance of violence, thereby creating more equal and healthy relationships,” said Megan Waters, UDOH violence prevention specialist.

Haines hopes attendees start to view social norms as an effective tool for preventing violence and injury.

To learn more about violence and injury prevention, visit http://

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Media Contact:
Tammy Kikuchi
Violence and Injury Prevention Program

Monday, March 13, 2017

News Advisory: Preventing Youth Injury and Violence by Changing Social Norms

What: Social norms are unwritten rules about how to behave in a particular social group or culture. Public health experts from across the state will discuss how changing social norms in a community can reduce injuries and violence among youth in Utah. 

Why: Violence and injury are the leading causes of death for Utah youth aged 1-19. Suicide was the leading cause of death for Utahns aged 10-17 in 2015. Nearly 30 percent of Utah high school students who are dating experience dating violence. Using social norms to change behaviors surrounding issues like suicide and dating violence is an innovative and effective strategy.
Who: Michael Haines, a nationally recognized expert in health promotion and social norms, is the keynote presenter for the Utah Safe Kids and Injury Prevention Summit.
When: Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Keynote speech
10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Media availability with Michael Haines
11:30 a.m. to Noon

Where: Viridian Event Center
Room C
8030 South 1825 West
West Jordan, UT 84088


Media Contact:
Tammy Kikuchi
Violence and Injury Prevention Program

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Utah Public Health Officials Issue Warning About Peanut Butter Substitute

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), multiple states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections. The investigation has revealed I.M. Healthy brand soy nut butter and I.M. Healthy granola products may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria and are a likely source of the outbreak. 

No E. coli cases associated with this outbreak have been reported in Utah, although the products are sold in Utah stores. Food safety inspectors from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) are contacting Utah distributors and grocery store chains to ensure recalled products are removed from shelves. Inspectors have found some products on some store shelves and have worked with stores to have the products removed. 

Sixteen people from nine states have been infected with E. coli associated with the outbreak. Eight of those individuals were hospitalized and five developed a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported. 

Utahns should stop eating all varieties of I.M. Healthy brand soy nut butter and granola products. Childcare centers, schools, and other institutions should stop serving these products and check their food storage area for soy nut butter products from I.M. Healthy. The products have a shelf life of two years.

“Even if some of the soy nut butter or granola was eaten or served and no one got sick, throw the rest of the product away. Put it in a sealed bag in the trash so that children, pets, or other animals can't eat it,” said Laine McCullough, epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health.

Consumers who have purchased I.M. Healthy soy nut butter may return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-288-1012, Monday-Friday 8:00-4:00 MST.

E. coli symptoms vary but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Most people get better within 5–7 days, but some infections are severe or even life-threatening. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, is a potentially life-threatening complication of E. coli infection. Very young children and the elderly are more likely to develop severe illness and kidney failure than others, but even healthy, older children and young adults can become seriously ill.

Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than three days, or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine. More information about E. coli can be found at

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Media Contacts:
Rebecca Ward (UDOH)
(o) 801-538-6682
(m) 801-352-1270
Larry Lewis (UDAF)
(o) 801-538-7104
(m) 801-514-2152

Friday, February 3, 2017

Health Department to Implement Limited Medicaid Expansion

(Salt Lake City, UT) – At the direction of Gov. Gary R. Herbert and legislative leadership, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) will amend its Medicaid State Plan to extend coverage to an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 low-income Utah parents. Low-income parents who earn up to approximately 45 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) are currently eligible for Medicaid; the amended plan will raise the effective income eligibility limit to 60 percent of the FPL.

The amended plan will require federal approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

Newly eligible parents will likely be able to apply for Medicaid benefits beginning July 1, 2017. The funding to provide coverage for these adults was appropriated during the 2016 legislative session through House Bill 437.

The UDOH initially submitted this request to CMS in 2016 as part of a larger request to expand coverage to targeted groups of adults, including the chronically homeless and those involved in the criminal justice system. The larger request would have provided coverage to an additional 6,000 to 8,000 adults. CMS officials are still considering elements of the larger request submitted last year. 
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Media Contact:
Tom Hudachko
Utah Department of Health
(o) 801.538.6232
(m) 801.560.4649

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

‘Stop the Opidemic’ Utahns Share Stories of Loss, Recovery from Opioid Addiction

(Salt Lake City, Utah) – Opioid abuse is a Utah epidemic. Six Utahns die every week from opioid overdoses. Today, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) announced the launch of a bold, new campaign, ‘Stop the Opidemic,’ to bring an end to the devastation opioid misuse and addiction has on individuals, families, and communities throughout the state. 

“For nearly nine years, I have investigated these deaths and seen first-hand the devastating reality behind Utah’s addiction to opioids,” said Erik Christensen, chief medical examiner with the UDOH. “The hard-hitting messages and imagery used in the ‘Stop the Opidemic’ campaign are designed to educate Utahns on the dangers of opioids, the signs and symptoms of opioid overdoses, and the importance of having naloxone on-hand whenever someone is using an opioid, whether that’s a prescription for pain or an illicit drug.”

In 2015, 268 Utahns died from a prescription opioid overdose (such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, or fentanyl), 127 died from illicit opioids such as heroin, and 10 deaths involved both prescription and illicit opioids; an average of 33 deaths each month (13.5 per 100,000 population). An estimated 80% of heroin users started with prescription drugs. Utah ranks 7th highest in the nation for drug overdose deaths (for the years 2013-2015).

The campaign features testimonials of Utahns who have lost family members to heroin overdoses and who are recovering from prescription opioid and heroin addictions. Alema Harrington, a well-known journalist in Utah, shared his story of recovery. Harrington was first exposed to opiates while playing football at Brigham Young University but his dependency on the drugs soon spiraled out of control, leading to heroin use. “There was so much stigma and shame but I was finally willing to be humble enough to ask for help,” said Harrington. “I have a disease. My disease is addiction. Without treatment it will kill me. This is a treatable disease. Regardless of where you are at in your addiction, there is hope.”

With support from the Utah State Legislature, naloxone is more readily available than ever before. Naloxone is a rescue medication that can reverse heroin and prescription opioid overdoses by blocking the effects of opiates on the brain and restoring breathing in minutes. There is no potential for abuse and side effects are rare. As of December 8, 2016, pharmacists in Utah can dispense naloxone, without a prior prescription, to anyone at increased risk of experiencing an opioid overdose or anyone who is concerned about a family member or friend.

Mark Lewis lost his son, Tony, on October 27, 2014 at the age of 27 to a heroin overdose. He became addicted when he was 15-years-old to OxyContin when someone at school gave it to him. “Kids don’t think it can kill you because a doctor prescribes it. They don’t realize how addictive it is,” said Lewis. “I was not aware of naloxone until after Tony died. I found out from his friends that Tony had been saved by naloxone once several years prior. I carry a naloxone kit now, even though Tony is gone, because you never know when you might come up on somebody, anywhere, who has overdosed.”

Signs of an opioid overdose include:
  • Shallow or stopped breathing
  • Small, pinpoint pupils
  • Blue or purple lips and fingernails
  • Limp body and unresponsive
  • Faint heartbeat
  • Gurgling or choking noises
“The dangers of opioids are clear – drug tolerance, physical dependency, addiction, abuse, overdose, and death. It’s time to stop the opidemic,” said Christensen.

To learn more about the campaign, visit

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Media Contact:
Katie McMinn
(o) 801-538-6156
(m) 801-856-6697

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

NEWS ADVISORY - Utahns Share Stories of Loss, Recovery from Opioid Addiction


WHAT: The Utah Department of Health will hold a press conference to launch a new campaign, Stop the Opidemic, and share stories of Utahns who have lost a family member to an opioid overdose as well as those who have overcome heroin and prescription opioid addictions.

WHY: Opioid abuse is a Utah epidemic. Six Utahns die every week from an opioid overdose. Studies show that 80 percent of heroin users started with prescription opioids. These individuals hope that as they share their stories of loss as well as recovery, that it will motivate others to ‘Stop the Opidemic.’   

WHO: Interviews available include:
  • Alema Harrington, recovering from a prescription opioid and heroin addiction
  • Mark Lewis, father of a 27-year-old son who died from a heroin overdose
  • Peter Lake, recovering from a prescription opioid addiction
  • Dennis and Celeste Cecchini, parents of a 33-year-old son who died from a heroin overdose
  • Amber Baum, mother of a daughter who died from a heroin overdose
  • Dr. Erik Christensen, Chief Medical Examiner, Utah Department of Health
WHEN: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Utah Department of Health
Room 129
288 North 1460 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84116


Media Contact:
Katie McMinn
(o) 801-538-6156
(m) 801-856-6697

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Air Quality Recess Guidance for Schools Now Available: Guidance helps principals know when to keep kids inside on bad air days

(Salt Lake City, UT) – With the first major inversion forecast to hit the Wasatch Front this week, parents may be wondering if it’s safe for their children to play outside during school recess. The Utah Departments of Health (UDOH) and Environmental Quality (DEQ) have released updated Recess Guidance for Schools to help principals and school administrators know when to move recess indoors on poor air quality days.

Inversions can be especially hard on children and anyone with certain chronic health conditions like asthma. During the winter, particulate matter (or PM2.5) is the main pollutant of concern as inversions trap cold air and pollution in the valleys. PM2.5 is made up of soot, dust, and vehicle emissions. It’s small enough to get past the body’s natural defense systems and when inhaled, can get deep into the lungs where it becomes trapped, aggravating current health problems. 

The Recess Guidance for Schools recommends that on days when the PM2.5 is:
  • Below 35.4 μg/m3 – All students stay outdoors for recess.
  • Between 35.5 μg/m3 and 55.4 μg/m3 – Students with respiratory symptoms and “sensitive” students stay indoors for recess. Sensitive students may include those with asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic lung disease, congenital heart disease, compromised immune systems, or other respiratory problems.
  • Above 55.5 μg/m3 – All students stay indoors for recess.
First created in 2004, the Recess Guidance has undergone three major revisions as new research and air quality studies have been completed. Input about how to balance the need for physical activity and keeping children safe from unhealthy air outdoors was sought from school personnel, health scientists, health care professionals, advocacy groups, and parent groups. The guidance aligns with the EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) levels and recommendations, and is tailored for the elementary school recess setting.

School administrators are encouraged to check the PM2.5 levels throughout the winter months at least 30 minutes prior to recess. “The Recess Guidance has been critical in helping me know how to help our students stay healthy and safe,” said BJ Weller, principal at Canyon View Elementary.

“The school principal makes the final decision regarding when and where to hold recess. We encourage schools to consider active options for indoor recess should the need arise,” said Brittany Guerra with the UDOH Asthma Program. “Fortunately, data shows there were only a handful of days over the last five years that our guidance recommended all students be kept indoors for recess due to poor air quality.”

Parents, with the advice of their health care provider, should also inform the school if they believe their child is part of a sensitive group and should have limited outdoor physical activity when air quality is poor.

The UDOH also offers daily email alerts during the inversion season to help school administrators know when PM2.5 reaches unhealthful levels and the specific guidance on which students should be kept indoors. To receive the air quality email alerts, send a blank email to

“Using the Recess Guidance has been very helpful in determining whether the air quality is safe for our students to go out and play in. It is so easy to just open the email and have the air quality for our area available without searching and taking a lot of time,” said Trudy Messick, with Renaissance Academy.

To see current PM2.5 levels, download the UtahAir app or visit Copies of the Air Quality Recess Guidance for Schools and video tutorials about how to use the guidance are available at
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Media Contact:
Brittany Guerra
UDOH Asthma Program                                                                           
(o) 801-538-6894 (m) 678-773-3983 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Utah Adolescents with Potential Eating Disorders more likely to be Suicidal, Suffer from Bullying and Violence

(Salt Lake City, UT) – In 2011 and 2013, 4% of female students and 1.4% of male students in grades 9-12 in Utah public schools met a threshold for underweight combined with eating disordered behaviors, totaling more than 1,000 boys and nearly 3,000 girls in the state. These same students had higher rates of depression, suicide ideation and attempt, bullying, and physical and sexual violence, according to a new report released by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH).

"While we’ve monitored overweight and obesity among adolescents and the associated health risks for years, we haven't looked into the prevalence and health effects of anorexia and eating disorders before now. What we found is that nearly 4,000 adolescents in Utah may be at risk for an eating disorder and that these adolescents have significant physical and mental health risks,” said Michael Friedrichs, UDOH epidemiologist.

The increased risk for adverse physical and mental health problems for adolescents with and without potential eating disorders is startling. The data analysis showed that adolescents with potential eating disorders reported feeling so sad or hopeless for two weeks that they stopped doing their usual activities at a rate of 42.3%, compared to 25.9% of adolescents without a potential eating disorder. Similarly, students with potential eating disorders reported that they considered suicide, made a suicide plan, attempted suicide, and were injured as a result of a suicide attempt at much higher rates than students without an eating disorder.

In addition, adolescents with potential eating disorders reported feeling less safe and reported more experiences of violence, compared to adolescents without a potential disorder. Of those students who reported being bullied on school property, 33.2% had a potential eating disorder, compared to 21.5% of students without. Drastically higher rates of physical and sexual violence by a dating partner (32.2% and 38% respectively) were also found for students with potential eating disorders compared to those without (5.6% physical violence and 9.5% sexual violence).

The UDOH analyzed data from the 2011 and 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to determine the rates of potential eating disorders among Utah adolescents and the associated adverse health experiences. Adolescents with potential eating disorders were defined as students with a Body Mass Index (BMI) below the 15th percentile and who reported they had one or more disordered eating behaviors. The most commonly reported disordered eating behaviors for underweight adolescents were trying to lose weight (12.1%), followed by fasting for 24 hours or more to lose weight (8.8%), vomiting or using laxatives to lose weight (4.2%), and taking diet pills (1.7%). All of these behaviors had higher rates for girls.

“Prevention and early intervention of these behaviors is critical to the long-term health and well-being of our young people,” said Megan Waters, violence prevention specialist with the UDOH. “We recommend that healthcare providers screen adolescents for eating disorders and associated risk behaviors and that trainings for school personnel and parents be made available to help them better understand the connections between eating disorders and other behaviors such as suicide ideation and dating violence.”

A copy of the report can be found at Information on risk behaviors such as suicide and dating violence can be found at

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Media Contact:
Megan Waters
Violence & Injury Prevention Program
(o) 801-538-6626

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Plan Unveiled to Help Stop Suicides in Utah

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Suicide prevention experts from the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH), and Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition unveiled a new plan to help stop suicides in Utah. The plan couldn’t be timelier; as suicide claimed 609 Utahns in 2015, for a rate of 24.5 per 100,000 population ages 10+. Every suicide death causes a ripple effect of immeasurable pain to individuals, families, and communities throughout the state.

“Everyone plays a role in suicide prevention and it is up to each one of us to help create communities which are strong in factors that protect people from suicide,” said Andrea Hood, suicide prevention expert with the UDOH. “The new plan outlines strategies to help communities accomplish this by describing ways to improve resiliency, crisis response, mental health treatment, and early identification of mental health conditions.”

Suicide is a complex issue influenced by individual, family, relational, community, and societal factors. Prevention strategies must address the factors that increase risk for suicide and the factors that protect from suicide risk. The new Utah Suicide Prevention Plan is structured around the following protective factors:
  • Increasing availability and access to quality physical and behavioral health care
  • Increasing social norms supportive of help-seeking and recovery
  • Reducing access to lethal means, such as firearms
  • Increasing connectedness to individuals, family, community, and social institutions by creating safe and supportive school and community environments
  • Increasing safe media portrayals of suicide and adoption of safe messaging principles
  • Increasing coping and problem solving skills
  • Increasing support to survivors of suicide loss
  • Increasing prevention and early intervention for mental health problems, suicide ideation and behaviors, and substance misuse
  • Increasing comprehensive data collection and analysis regarding risk and protective factors for suicide to guide prevention efforts
“Over the last few years our state has come a long way in understanding and addressing suicide. This plan represents the progress we have made and the foundation we have built for suicide prevention,” said Kim Myers, suicide prevention coordinator with the DSAMH.

The new plan highlights evidence-based strategies that are tried and true steps communities can take to build resiliency, create safety nets for those in crisis, and ultimately save lives in Utah. The plan also has a greater emphasis on social connectedness than previous statewide efforts.

The Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition will oversee implementation of the plan. The coalition is a partnership of community members, suicide survivors, service providers, researchers, and others dedicated to saving lives and advancing suicide prevention efforts in Utah. To learn how to get involved or for a copy of the plan, visit

“We have a more comprehensive, collaborative approach to suicide prevention in Utah than ever before,” said Hood. “Our hope is that the strategies we are all working so hard on will save lives and bring hope to those who are feeling alone or hopeless, because each life matters.”

All suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and attempts should be taken seriously. Get help 24/7 by calling the Statewide CrisisLine at 801-587-3000 or the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine at 1-800-273-TALK. Help is also available online at Trained consultants will provide free and confidential crisis counseling to anyone in need.

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Media Contacts:
Andrea Hood, UDOH
(o) 801-538-6599 (m) 801-913-6304
Kimberly Myers, DSAMH
(m) 801-633-2408