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Utah advocates talk about increased suicide rate

Suicide rates inched up in nearly every U.S. state from 1999 through 2016, according to a new government report released Thursday.

SALT LAKE CITY — The CDC says suicide rates are up across the United States.

According to recently released data encompassing 1999 to 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans died by suicide in 2016.

But the reasons why are complicated.

Fewer than half of those who took their own lives had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

The CDC says suicide typically arises from a combination of factors. Its list ranges from relationship problems (42 percent), acute crisis (29 percent), problematic drug and alcohol use (28 percent), and poor health (22 percent), to job loss and money trouble (16 percent), legal issues (9 percent) and loss of housing (4 percent), among others.

Utah author Ganel-lyn Condie spoke to KSL Newsradio for A Woman’s View, about losing her sister to suicide at age 40 four years ago. She says often there are no warning signs or no easy answers.

“We want reasons, and we want control. That’s human nature. We want to find cause and effect, we want to see risk factors,” she said.

“We have in our minds the people we are worried about. And we should be aware, we should be able to have conversations about isolation, about preoccupation with death,” Condie said.

This data was released the same week that celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were found dead. Advocates are urging anyone and their loved ones to use the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at any time, by calling 1-800-273-Talk.

Read more of KSL Newsradio’s coverage of “Healing Utah’s Teenagers” here.

KSL’s combined coverage “Reasons to Hope” is found here.

And resources for help around Utah are here.