Report: Rising Utah suicide rates propelled by guns

Suicides outnumber homicides in Utah eight to one and the state’s suicide rate has been rising for a decade—with the increase driven by guns, according to a new report from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Half of all suicides in Utah are firearm-related, according to the report. And the overwhelming majority of suicide attempts using a gun are fatal.

“If a proportion of Utahns who would otherwise attempt suicide with a firearm were prevented from using a gun, there would likely be fewer suicide deaths, even if those who attempted [suicide] substituted another method,” the report states.

Utah legislators voted earlier this year to commission the study of gun violence and suicide, with an eye toward updating the state’s firearm safety and suicide prevention education programs, according to a November 15, 2018 Salt Lake Tribune article.

Harvard Chan School authors of the report included Catherine Barber, Deborah Azrael, Matthew Miller, and David Hemenway. Doctoral student Morissa Sobelson was also a co-author.

Read the Salt Lake Tribune article: Suicide rates in Utah currently outnumber homicides and access to guns is a driving factor, according to a new report

Learn more

Guns & Suicide: The Hidden Toll (Harvard Public Health magazine)

Uncommon Ground (Harvard Public Health magazine)