Report from CDC on suicide advises parents to limit screen time and gun access

Apr 5, 2018, 8:38 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — The Center for Disease Control recently released a report, looking into some of the trends the rising rate of youth suicide in Utah. Among them, guns and access to their devices.

Teresa Brechlin, with the Utah Department of Health’s (UDOH) violence injury prevention program, said they’ve been gathering data around Utah’s teen suicides since 2005. Recently, they noticed an alarming rise.


“Between 2011 and 2015 it had increased 141 percent,” she said.

At the same time the national rate increased by about 24 percent.

The trend drove UDOH to ask CDC epidemiologists to look over the data and report any indicators they could find. They came down last March and poured through years of data.

“Whereas this investigation could not identify specific factors driving the increase in suicide among Utah youths, across multiple data sources, mental health, relationship problems, family conflicts, and experience of other forms of violence were common among Utah youths who died by suicide,” the CDC said in their final report, published on March 23rd.

The report warned that teens with obvious signs of moodiness or depression should be helped, but added that mental health professional should rethink their approaches since 84 percent of the teens who committed suicide were actually getting help at the time.

Researchers also warned that many of the teenagers were in the middle of conflicts with loved ones at the time of their death. In several of the cases they said the teenager was given technology restrictions that may have made them feel cut off from the world and everyone they care about.

“Additional research is needed to understand the implications of this finding, including the extent to which it represents interruption to social support networks, distress over losing access to the device, confounding with the reason for punishment (e.g., poor grades), or other factors,” the report reads.

Brechlin said dependency on social media or technology devices is a serious concern for the health department. She urged parents to take a proactive effort in limited access early on, instead of cutting off access completely when the child misbehaves.

“Being involved in their screen-time usage so they understand there’s going to be some regulations around it,” Brechlin said. “For many kids that is more than just a phone, it’s a way to connect with people outside.”

Brechlin said they warned that populations of homeless teens and LGBTQA teenagers were at high risk for suicide, along with teenagers who have easy access to guns, and kids with a dependency on social media or technology.

The CDC also encouraged parents to keep guns away from teens, warning that suffocation and firearm deaths were by far the most common way to attempt suicide. And more than 83 percent of the teens accomplished the suicide in their own homes.

Brechlin said in their own studies they’ve learned teenagers often have access to guns in their home, even when they are locked up. She advised parents to keep those out of reach of kids at all ages, especially if they are struggling with mental illness.

You can find the full report here.

Today’s Top Stories


A brush fire started in Saratoga Springs last night. Photo Credit: Saratoga Springs Fire Department...
Devin Oldroyd

Fire officials say aerial firework caused brush fire in Saratoga Springs

An aerial firework caused a brush fire in Saratoga Springs Sunday night.
1 day ago
The Deuel Creek Fire began late Sunday night in Centerville. Photo credit: John Wilson....
Devin Oldroyd

Deuel Creek Fire starts in Centerville overnight, evacuation order lifted

The Deuel Creek Fire began late Sunday night in Centerville.
1 day ago
Tooele City announced its firework restrictions Sunday evening. Photo Credit: Tooele City's Faceboo...
Devin Oldroyd

Tooele City releases fireworks restrictions map

Tooele City announced its firework restrictions Sunday evening.
2 days ago
Photo credit: UDOT...
Devin Oldroyd

Semi-truck rolls on I-80 at U.S.-40, Silver Creek Junction

What caused the semi-truck to roll is still under investigation at this time. All lanes in the area have been cleared and are operational.
2 days ago
Image from the scene of the shooting on South Major street in Salt Lake City (Photo courtesy of SLC...
Chandler Holt

UPDATE: SLCPD arrest two in connection to Sunday’s Ballpark neighborhood shooting

Police received multiple calls regarding shots fired near 1485 South Major Street at around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday July 3, 2022. 
2 days ago
The scene of the shooting at 900 S. 200 West (Photo courtesy of Adam Sotelo)...
Chandler Holt

UPDATE: Shooting on TRAX platform leaves one dead, one injured

Police responded to reports of shots fired on a TRAX platform near 900 South and 200 West at around 10 p.m. on Saturday night.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Report from CDC on suicide advises parents to limit screen time and gun access