SYRACUSE -- Stunned by a series of suicides, city officials are trying to be proactive in addressing the concern.
They think they have a solution that will work at a number of levels.
Police Chief Garret Atkin said Detective Cory Riley went to a training class looking for something to help with the suicide problem and came in contact with Northern Utah Hold On Persuade Empower, or NUHOPE, an organization that has targeted the issue of suicide since 2007.
Made up of medical and behavioral health professionals, NUHOPE offers suicide prevention education sessions.
Atkin said the organization will help train high school students to be a peer group to potentially identify trigger mechanisms, and help put at-risk kids in touch with resources to help them cope. He said since Provo implemented the program seven years ago they have not had a suicide in the school district.
Mayor Jamie Nagle is hoping to expand the number of people who receive specialized training from the program. She has reached out to area clergy and invited them to a community meeting on March 23 at Syracuse High School.
Suicide was listed as the second-leading cause of death among Utah residents ages 15 to 19, in 2010, in a study by the Utah Department of Health. From 2004 to 2008, suicide accounted for 26 percent of all deaths in the 15 to 19 age group, and males made up 79 percent of the victims, the study found. Utah ranks ninth in suicides in the U.S. among individuals ages 15 to 24.
Atkin declined to give a number for suicides in the area, but said the problem is not limited to high school students.