This archived article was written by: Angel McRae
A suicide in Utah occurs every 15 hours and according to the Utah Department of Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10-24.
This ranks Utah seventh in the nation with nine suicides a week which is enough to fill the Energy Solutions Arena 13 times per year and is under reported. Even with the numbers being under reported, they are alarming and leave many asking how they can help prevent suicide.
USU Eastern’s Director of Counseling & Disability Resource Center, Darrin Brandt, is chair of Carbon and Emery counties’ Hope Squad. In 2012, The Hope Squad formed and began working on a way to prevent suicide as community coalition of people from all walks of life.
A person at risk of suicide will often exhibit early warning signs that others can watch for and assist that person who is in crisis to get help. The Hope Squad’s motto is, “Fight for the one because one is too many.”
When asked how a loved one or friend could be more aware that someone was contemplating committing suicide, Brandt said, “to be aware when someone’s life goes into absolute turmoil, where everything just goes wrong and the person begins talking very badly about their past.”
On their Facebook page, “The Hope Squad of Carbon/Emery was originated because of the alarming number of our community members that have died at their own hands in the last couple of years.
We don’t understand all the reasons why we no longer have these loved ones in our lives, but there has never been a suicide without hopelessness. This is an effort to reach out to all, so not one of us has to feel or stand alone and that even in our darkest moments we can be reminded there is hope.”
Someone who is at risk for suicide will start communicating a desire to die and looking for ways to kill themselves. Often they will express feelings of hopelessness, unbearable pain or being a burden on others. The increased use of alcohol and/or other drugs is a red flag that someone is in crisis and needing help.
A person in crisis may start giving their cherished items and prized possessions away as if they are executing their last will and testament. Connecting with the person in crisis and persuading them to seek out help to find hope again
Brandt said, “Huge emotional upheaval needs to be taken seriously and making sure the ball is not dropped when someone is hurting bad. Connecting people to in crisis to resources like doctors and therapists is important.”
Family, community organizations and individual connections in addition to problem solving skills play a big role in reducing the number of suicides.
There is hope and no one ever has to feel that they are completely alone.
The third article on suicide will be an interview with a USU Eastern student who was in crisis and nearly did the unthinkable before they reached out for help and found new hope.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide don’t leave them alone. Be sure that any firearms, alcohol, medications and sharp objects are not accessible. Either you or the person in crisis should call the U.S. National Suicide
Prevent Lifeline at 900-273-TALK (8255) be sure to seek help from medical or mental health professionals.