For Immediate Release
Aug. 30, 2016
House Majority Communications Coordinator
Utah House of Representatives
Kim Myers, MSW
Suicide Prevention Coordinator
Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Rep. Eliason & Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition to Launch Firearm Suicide Prevention Initiative
Is Your Safety On?
SALT LAKE CITY – Representative Steve Eliason, the Firearm Safety Committee of the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition and a Utah Shooting Sports Council board member will hold a joint press conference on Thursday, September 1 at 2:30 p.m. at the State Capitol to present Utah’s Suicide Prevention Plan. The Committee has been working to create and implement a suicide prevention and firearm safety module in the Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Concealed Carry Instructor Course. The committee will be launching the training module and supporting materials for families, communities, gun shops, instructors and others to use to raise awareness of firearm suicide prevention.
Suicide is a serious public health concern, and Utah ranks fourth in the nation in suicide deaths. Eighty-five percent of firearm deaths in the state are the result of suicide, making its prevention a critical firearm safety issue. A key strategy in Utah’s Suicide Prevention Plan is to reduce access to lethal means, especially firearms, during a time of crisis, also a priority of the Utah Division of Substance Abuse & Mental Health (DSAMH). Nine of 10 people who die by suicide were experiencing a behavioral health disorder at the time of death. Key aspects of the prevention plan involve education regarding the necessity of good behavioral health for a person’s well-being; and the idea that prevention works, recovery is possible, treatment can be effective and suicide is preventable.
“Firearm safety is one part of Utah’s comprehensive approach to suicide prevention,” said Kim Myers, Utah Suicide Prevention Coordinator for Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. “It is a natural partnership for suicide prevention advocates and firearm instructors to come together with shared goals of protecting loved ones who may be at risk for suicide through training and education.”
“Suicide accounts for over eight in 10 firearm-caused deaths in Utah,” said Rep. Eliason. “These training materials provide a necessary tool to assist gun shop owners, friends and family to recognize potentially suicidal signs that will help prevent suicide.”
Rep. Steve Eliason, District 45
Kim Myers, Suicide Prevention Coordinator Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Clark Aposhian, Chair of the Utah Shooting Sports Council and Committee Member of the Firearm Safety Committee of the Utah Suicide Prevention
Lieutenant Ryan Van Fleet, Assistant Director Utah Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Identification
Bruce James, Concealed Carry Permit Class Instructor and Committee Member of the Firearm Safety Committee of the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition
What: Firearm Suicide Prevention Initiative Press Conference
Where: Rotunda – Utah State Capitol
When: Thursday, September 1, 2016, at 2:30 p.m.