Youth Suicide on the Rise | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Youth Suicide on the Rise 

Legal Woes and Real Food Rising

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Youth Suicide on the Rise
Without getting into the guns and drugs dialogue, there is bad news for Utah children on the mental health front. It's called suicide. A shocking report from the Utah Department of Health shows that suicides among children ages 10-17 have tripled since 2007. State Medical Examiner Dr. Todd Grey told Fox News that on average there are one or even two youth suicides every day. Last year, that meant some 600 children died at their own hand. There's a sense of shame and an effort to hide it, Grey says, and "that doesn't help anybody, really." Pundits come up with all sorts of reasons, but no one really knows why. Screen time contributes to depression and the availability of guns in the home is a concern. But the real issue may be mental health itself—the lack of funding and the lack of will to face it.


Legal Woes
Well, that U.S. Supreme Court is doing a bang-up job without its ninth justice. Its latest ruling, McDonnell v. U.S., "undercuts the ability of federal prosecutors to use these statutes to prosecute political favors based on providing access to government officials," The National Law Review says. Can we say Mark Shurtleff? The Davis County prosecutor just sought dismissal of the case against the former Attorney General, partly because of the ruling—and partly because the feds just wouldn't part with whatever evidence they have in the case. It's a damned shame. Shurtleff cannot be convicted or exonerated, but in the public's eyes, he'll always be the guy who was on the take—legally.


Real Food Rising
Here's a better saying than the "teach a man to fish" one: "You can give anybody who's hungry a can of soup or something, but what will benefit their bodies the most are those nutrients that come from fruits and vegetables." While it may not be very quippy, it comes from 15-year-old Leah Jang, who told the Deseret News about the Real Food Rising program and its personal impact. Started by Utahns Against Hunger in 2012 and now run by Utah Community Action, the program teaches kids to grow, harvest and cook foods for community lunches, food pantries and soup kitchens. This year, they expect to produce 15,000 pounds of organic and sustainable fruits and vegetables. It's urban farming at its best, but the way it empowers kids to take hold of their own health through food is remarkable. Not to mention feeding the hungry.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

More by Katharine Biele

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