Utah Department of Health Holds Utah Safe Kids and Injury Prevention Summit

Click here to watch the video segment provided by ABC4 Utah. 

WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) –  The numbers are staggering when it comes to the suicide rate in Utah. Violence and injury are the leading causes of death among Utah children and teens. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Utahns aged 10-17.

At the Utah Safe Kids and Injury Prevention Summit held by the Utah Department of Health says focusing on the problem can do more harm than good.

Hope and recovery is what Michael Haines promotes. He’s a nationally recognized expert in health promotion and social norms and the keynote speaker at the Utah Safe Kids and Injury Prevention Summit going on this week.

Haines, “It works because populations like to hear about their assets then their deficits. No matter how poor that population is or how ill that population is or how few their resources are most people are doing the right thing and for them to hear that grows that behavior.”

Andrea Hood, Suicide Prevention Coordinator at UDOH, “it’s incredibly thought provoking because it flips on its head traditional health approaches. Instead of focusing on the problem focus on the solution.”

Health advocates say most people who have thoughts of suicide do not go onto die of suicide and those who seek help almost always finds some type of recovery.
They say focusing on the problem takes away from solutions. Take sexual violence among teen dating for example, the numbers are surprising but advocates say why not explain what healthy relationships are like instead of the negative.

Megan Waters, Sexual Violence Prevention UDOH, ‘highlighting the problem is a disservice because we are not giving solutions to that problem we are saying this is a huge problem be scared of this. What we need to do is say a lot of people have healthy relationships and don’t experience violence.”

Andrea Hood, “suicide prevention has been a priority in Utah because our rates have been among the highest in the nation. All those who have had thoughts of suicide have overcome them.”

Haines, “I start to become someone who serves the population than someone who fixes it.”

For help, you can call the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline  1-800-273-talk (8255).