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Gov. Herbert to form task force addressing teenage suicide

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Gov. Gary Herbert plans to announce a new task force, to address Utah’s high teen suicide rate.

According to a press release, Herbert and community partners will, “discuss a new joint effort” to work together, and tackle the issue head on.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Utah Department of Health reported that 150 Utah youth died by suicide from 2011-2015. That is a 141 percent increase in suicide rate in children ages 10-17, compared to the national rate of 23.5 percent.

Fox 13’s Tamara Vaifanua covered the rise in teenage suicides that Utah had seen last year.

“No one factor alone really accounts for suicide behavior or the trends,” said Michael Friedrichs, an epidemiologist with the UDOH told Vaifanua.

“As someone who survived multiple attempts as a teenager, I can tell you how grateful I am today to stand before you alive,” said Taryn Hiatt with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Gov. Herbert plans to announce the new task force on Wednesday, and take questions from the media.

If you know someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK. They’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.