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Research explores how to prevent suicide among Utah women and girls

Three generations of women hugging.
Utah Women & Leadership Project
The Utah Women and Leadership Project released new research on how to support Utah women and girls struggling with thoughts of suicide.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. With many organizations turning their eyes toward suicide prevention, the Utah Women and Leadership Project (UWLP) has released a detailed report on how Utahns can improve these resources for women and girls.

“When we look at the impact of even attempted suicide, let alone suicide, it really does impact so many people's lives that you're not even sure they may impact. So this is just something that will impact and does impact thousands and thousands of Utahns in some way,” said Susan Madsen, director of the UWLP.

She says that by targeting gender differences, suicide prevention resources can be greatly improved.

“I truly believe that if we understand the differences more, that we can actually help more,” Madsen said.

The report recommends incorporating “women-specific strategies” in suicide prevention education and messaging. These recommendations include information on eating disorders, pregnancy and fertility issues, sexual abuse and intimate partner violence.

“When you look at our recommendations, we need to have more data collected more funding towards data that really looks at the needs of men and women separately,” Madsen said.

The UWLP is not the only organization focusing on this topic. In his monthly press conference for August, Governor Spencer Cox spoke on suicide prevention in the state.

“If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, if you’re struggling or having thoughts of suicide, I would beg you, please stay, we need you. We need you here in our state. You are so important,” Cox said.

Both Governor Cox and the UWLP report stress the importance of resources like the Suicide Prevention Hotline, 988, with the UWLP recommending gender-specific training for existing programs including the Live On campaign and the Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Anna grew up begging her mom to play music instead of public radio over the car stereo on the way to school. Now, she loves radio and the power of storytelling through sound. While she is happy to report on anything from dance concerts to laughter practice, her main focus at UPR is political reporting. She is studying Journalism and Political Science at Utah State University and wants to work in political communication after she graduates. In her free time, she spends time with her rescue dog Quigley and enjoys rock climbing.