Salt Lake City is inviting parents and teens to take part in the “Start the Conversation” event on September 8 to address Utah’s alarming rate of teen suicide. Reports indicate suicide is the leading cause of death for Utah youth ages 11 to 17, a rate nearly three times the national average.
Start the Conversation is part of the efforts of Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Youth City Government to address school and gun violence. The conference will include remarks from Mayor Biskupski and experts on suicide research, prevention, resources and outreach.
“With our kids in the crosshairs of an epidemic of suicide and gun violence, it is our moral obligation to equip families with resources to help keep the next generation safe,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “By dialoguing around suicide, we can help remove the stigma which often surrounds the issue, bringing light to darkness and hopefully saving lives.”
Among Utah youth who died by suicide between 2011-2015, death by firearms was the most common. In 2017 about 44 youth, ages 10-17, died by suicide. More than half of the youth suicides were attributed to the use of firearms.
The free event includes lunch and break-out sessions. Everyone is invited to attend but the target audience is families with youth ages 10-18. Limited childcare will be provided for children ages 3-9 years old on a first come, first served basis.