Rep. McAdams’ new bill aims to get money for suicide prevention

SALT LAKE CITY — In a downtown Salt Lake City news conference, a psychiatrist, a congressman and a state legislator announced a new effort to fund suicide prevention research.

Rep. Ben McAdams is sponsoring the Advancing Research to Prevent Suicide Act. The idea is to get money to researchers who are trying to understand an alarming increase in suicide rates, nationally and in Utah.

One of the most experienced researchers on the issue is psychiatrist Doug Gray, a professor at the University of Utah. Along with McAdams’ bill, Gray praised Gov. Gary Herbert’s youth suicide task force, the Safe UT app, and the Huntsman Family’s recent $150 million donation to fund the Mental Health Institute at the University of Utah.

“I am so pleased that in the last five years our work on suicide prevention in the state has doubled and tripled,” Gray said.

McAdams noted that suicide has become the leading cause of death among Utah youth.

“A youth suicide traumatizes the entire school system. People feel that so deeply, and they wonder, 'What could I have done to prevent it?'” McAdams said.

Utah has the nation's sixth-highest suicide rate, with more than eight suicides for every murder committed in the state.

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