Cache County suicide rates aren’t as high as national or state averages but at 16.5 suicide deaths per 100,000 in the county it is still a significant jump over the last decade.
“There are so many factors involved in suicide and mental health, it is really difficult to break it down,” said Emily Pugsley, a health educator at Bear River Health. “There are a lot of hypotheses out there. One is that people aren’t as connected as they used to be; social connectedness is one of the biggest protective factors.
“When people start to distance themselves, that leads to isolation which is a problem.”
Pugsley said Utah ranks number one in the nation in suicide ideation which is when people have thoughts about suicide.
“Every suicide is a little different but we do know that 80-90 percent of them are associated with a mental illness.”
Pugsley is a member of the Cache County Suicide Prevention Coalition which meets monthly to help educate people. The coalition promotes what is called QPR.
“It is a one-hour training that we provide to people to help them recognize warning signs of suicide and also help them feel more comfortable with a difficult subject.”
Also, a suicide prevention hotline is available at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). In addition there is a comprehensive mental health resource directory at the health department website, BRHD.ORG.
Anyone interested is welcome to attend a QPR training Thursday, May 26. Another event in May is a training session at USU Friday, May 20.