Letter: HB209 would help reduce suicide in Utah

This legislative session there are plenty of bills that involve suicide prevention, and that is for good reason.

Utah’s suicide rate is significantly higher than the national average, and suicide was the leading cause of death for Utahns between the ages of 10-17 and 18-24. This rate of completed suicides is alarming, and considering that suicide is 100 percent preventable, we Utahns need to do what we can to prevent people from taking their own lives.

The bill that I see most impactful to decrease our high rate of suicide is House Bill 209. The access that individuals have to firearms plays a large part in our high rate of suicide in Utah. HB209 would allow law enforcement or family members to petition a judge to file an order to temporarily remove access to firearms for people who pose danger to themselves or others.

I am completing a practicum for school within the hospital setting. I work with clients who have been hospitalized after suicide attempts, but I cannot say that I have ever worked with someone who attempted suicide with a firearm, perhaps because 85 percent of the attempts with firearms are successful.

It’s a sad reality that we need to change, and one opportunity to change this is happening now. If you believe in saving lives through this protective measure, please call or email your local representative in support of HB 209.

Julie Ann Chen, Salt Lake City

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