Several hundred people gathered at Copper Mountain Middle School last night in Herriman to talk about a troubling spike in teen suicides.
The community meeting was spurred by six suicides of Herriman High School students since last June. Attendees filled the Copper Mountain Middle School auditorium to hear seven panelists including counselors, faith leaders and a suicide expert with the Utah Medical Examiner’s office.
Brianna Godfrey is the incoming president of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Herriman High School. She said a big part of the event was to encourage parents to talk with their kids about how they feel.
"We need to get away from that stigma here that suicide is a bad word," Godfrey said. "Talking about it is not going to put the ideas in their head. If they’re thinking about it, it’s already in their head. So bringing it up with them is just going to show them that you care."
According to Godfrey the number of suicides is even higher when you consider the communities surrounding Herriman.
The panelists discussed known risk factors to suicide like depression, isolation and access to firearms, as well as more controversial factors including sexuality and religion.
The recent suicide deaths in Herriman are in line with a statewide trend shown in a study from the CDC.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts call:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
University Neuropsychiatric Institute: 801-587-300 https://healthcare.utah.edu/uni/programs/crisis-diversion.php
National Alliance on Mental Illness: 801-323-9900 https://www.namiut.org/
Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness: 385-210-0320 http://www.myusara.com/