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Suicide prevention experts: lock up your guns

SALT LAKE CITY —  In the last three years, about half of the 10- to 17 year-olds who died by suicide in Utah died by using a firearm.

Harvard researcher Cathy Barber’s team was tapped by the Governor’s suicide task force to find out why youth suicide here has tripled in the last decade. She says reducing access to guns is a critical part of reducing deaths from suicide in Utah.

Barber’s team will give a full report to lawmakers in August, but lawmakers are already acting on her recommendations. Rep. Steve Eliason of Sandy says 9 out of 10 people who survive an attempt go on to live full lives, dying of causes other than suicide.


A new PSA is out now warning parents to lock up their guns.

Free Gunlock Giveaway

KSL is giving away FREE gun locks at multiple locations across Utah. Get information on each location and time here, and also find a form where you can order up to three additional free gun locks.

Suicide prevention resources
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.
Crisis Hotlines
  • Utah County Crisis Line: 801-691-5433
  • Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
  • Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386
Online resources
Mobile Apps
       SafeUT App
Warning signs & what to do if someone needs help
Warning signs of suicide
  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide but may not be what causes a suicide.

Information from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

What to do if you see warning signs of suicide
  • Do not leave the person alone
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional

Information from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.