Speaker to Discuss Youth Suicide Prevention at WSU

OGDEN, Utah – Every day in Utah, two youths are treated for suicide attempts, according to the Utah Department of Health. A serious problem, youth suicide will be the topic of the 2018 Weber State University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences Distinguished Lecture Series.

Jonathan Singer, a clinical social worker and associate professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago, will discuss problems, solutions and strategies for addressing youth suicide Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in WSU’s Lindquist Alumni Center Garden Room. The lecture is free, and the public is welcome.

The rate of youth suicide in Utah has long surpassed the national average. The Utah Department of Health reports that from 2011 to 2015, Utah’s youth suicide rate rose 141.3 percent. In 2015, Utah ranked fifth in the nation for suicide deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many speculate what might drive this alarming trend, but Singer said there is ultimately no single cause of youth suicide. He believes what’s most important is spreading the message that suicide is preventable and teaching institutions how to help youths who may be struggling.  

“Every child, adult and professional needs to believe that suicide is preventable,” Singer said. “You don’t want a school staff member to walk into school and say, ‘If a kid really wants to die, there’s nothing I can do about it.’”

After nearly 20 years of providing crisis services to suicidal youth in schools, Singer’s lecture will focus on what he has learned about causes and interventions.

Singer will also provide a training session for mental health professionals Feb. 21 at 9:30 a.m. at Weber State Downtown (2314 Washington Blvd, Ogden). The session is free and will focus on techniques for helping depressed and suicidal adolescents. Attendees also are eligible for continuing education credits. 

Singer is a founding member of the online suicide prevention social media (#SPSM) community and is the founder and host of the award-winning Social Work Podcast. Singer has authored 60 publications, including “Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention.”

Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.

Contact:

Barrett Bonella, social work and gerontology assistant professor
801-626-8035 • barrettbonella@weber.edu

Author:

Ella Stevenson, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
801-626-7948 • ellastevenson@weber.edu