LOGAN – The Utah Department of Health recently reported that suicide was a major public health problem here in the Beehive state. An average of 627 Utahns die from suicide and 4,574 Utahns attempt suicide each year.
Locally, The Family Place in Cache Valley has a program they believe can make a difference in those contemplating taking their own life.
The Family Place is staffed with qualified personnel who are trained to help individuals and families struggling with issues related to someone taking their own life.
The Family Place Utah invites everyone in the community to participate in the conversation surrounding suicide prevention with the “I am Still Here; Suicide Prevention Series.” The video series can be found at thefamilyplaceutah.org and on YouTube.
“Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in Utah. Suicide affects people of all demographics and has dramatically increased among young people ages 10-24 in the past decade,” said Dr. Sheryl Goodey, the Executive Director of The Family Place. “The ‘I am Still Here; Suicide Prevention Series’ is intended to educate the public about suicide. In seven episodes, 10 individuals from Utah who have been impacted by suicide share their stories.”
The videos also feature The Family Place’s Curtis Snelgrove, the Mental Health First Aid Program Director; Cassie Alarcon, a Family Educator; and, Sarah Gasik, the Trauma Resiliency Care Coordinator.
“Our main purpose in providing this information is to help the community feel empowered and understand that each person plays an important role in reducing the prevalence of suicide and making an impact in somebody’s life,” Snelgrove said.”
The first episode, published December 2, begins with an introduction by Dr. Sheryl Goodey, the Executive Director of The Family Place.
“Our educators have dedicated a significant amount of time and effort to create this series and to this incredible cause,” said Goodey. “We are especially thankful for the participants who have courageously volunteered to share their stories and be vulnerable and open with us. We hope that these videos make a positive difference for one child, one parent, or one family.”
Throughout the series, Snelgrove, Alarcon, and Gasik discuss terms that are important to understanding how to prevent suicide, such as stigma and warning signs. They also explain how to talk to someone in crisis and how to create protective factors for yourself and loved ones. In each episode, stories are shared that illustrate the different factors that can impact the outcome of crisis situations.
The Family Place invites the community to take the pledge to “Still Be Here,” by watching for risk factors in others, being present for loved ones, and reaching out for help if they find themselves struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Community members can sign the pledge by visiting http://thefamilyplaceutah.org/.
The series was funded by the Governor’s Suicide Prevention Program of the State of Utah. The program was developed in 2018 in response to the high rate of suicide among teens and young adults in Utah.
Information and stories in the video series may trigger strong emotions. The Family Place encourages viewers who are feeling triggered to reach out and get the assistance they need.
Crisis services for Cache Valley include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), The Family Place (435-752-8880), and the Bear River Mental Health Crisis Service (435-752-0750). All three services are available 24/7.
Suicide remains a major public health problem, one that occurs throughout the year. It is the 10th leading cause of death for all Americans. Each year, more than 36,000 people take their own lives. In addition, more than 374,000 are treated in emergency departments for self-inflicted injuries.