New mental health bill may not be enough to combat suicide epidemic in southern Utah

January 9, 2017
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ST. GEORGE, Utah - + Video- A new bill that went into affect January 1, 2017, was crafted to entice mental health professionals to rural areas of Utah facing suicide crises. House Bill 265 would offer a $10,000 tax credit to those psychiatrists or nurse practitioners who open new practices in Utah or help serve communities where the rates are higher. The law specifically targets underserved populations like veterans, native americans and the homeless.

Currently Utah’s suicide rate has been ranked among the highest in the nation for more than a decade. According to the Center’s for Disease Control, an estimated 600 people take their own lives in Utah every year and about 4,500 people attempt suicide. Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, sponsored the the new mental health help bill to try and combat the growing suicide rate. In southwest Utah, statistics show the suicide rate among children ages 10—14 rank between number one and number two based on per capita.

While the change may create incentive, other health networks are being formed in southern Utah to try and create an immediate response team or safety net to patients who often fall through the cracks. 

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help immediately. You can Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) for more help.