By: Jenny Infanger, CSW
In Utah, suicide is the number one leading cause of death among youth ages 10-19[i]. It’s a bleak topic and conversations may be difficult to start, but research emphasizes the importance of breaking the silence when it comes to suicide. The encouraging news is suicide is preventable and we can all take part in helping save a life.
In Utah County grassroots efforts are building thanks to the work of Dr. Greg Hudnall of Hope4Utah and his evidence-based Circles4Hope model. The Green House Center is glad to be partnered with Hope4Utah and PG Hope (Pleasant Grove City’s community based suicide prevention program) to educate all community members about the warning signs, how best to respond to ideations, and to make referrals for professional assistance. Partnerships among schools, communities, and local mental health providers help individuals and families to access the ongoing services they need to cope with and address difficulties.
It is important for everyone to know the warning signs, what to ask if you are concerned, and what to do and where to get help if someone tells you they are considering hurting themselves. People often worry that asking the person if they have thought about suicide will plant the idea. On the contrary, often they have already considered it.
Most people who are suicidal do not really want to die, they want the pain they are suffering to go away but they do not know how. While you are no expected to know all the answers, you can be someone’s lifeline to get help. Tell an adult and help them find a professional. There are resources out there to support you. There is hope. Reach out and take it seriously if someone expresses thoughts or feelings that worry you.
As a friend of someone who is struggling, and even as a parent, it can be difficult to know where to go and how to find help. But you don’t have to face this alone. Schools, mental health agencies, and communities can partner to educate, prevent, and intervene when needed. Everyday we come in contact with a variety of people throughout our cities, schools, churches, sports programs, etc. We can all come together to support the youth in our community. Dr. Hudnall has taken the well-known adage “It takes an entire village to raise a child…” further to “It takes an entire community to save one.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts there is assistance available 24/7 just a phone call away. You can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255), UNI CrisisLine (801) 587-3000 or in Utah County Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line (801) 373-7393.
Please visit Hope4Utah’s website www.hope4utah.com for more detailed information on prevention, including identifying warning signs, partnering with schools, etc. The Green House Center is pleased to support these efforts as a community mental health provider and partner in these important efforts.