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Youth Council Organizes Class To Talk About Preventing Teen Suicide

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There are lots of things in libraries that can help teenagers learn about life. At the Millcreek Library Thursday afternoon, there was a class to teach teenagers the value of each life.

“One suicide is too many,” said Broc Stowe.

Riverton High School senior Broc Stowe talked to around two dozen people about preventing suicide.

The senior at Riverton High School was addressing a group of about 25 people. He was one of many speakers talking about suicide.

“I feel like there’s such a stigma against suicide that we just can’t talk about it,” he said.

That’s what this meeting was about: to talk.

The Salt Lake County Youth Council put the class together because they felt like suicide prevention was a message teenagers need to hear.

“Be straight forward. Ask them, ‘Are you thinking about committing suicide?’ Make sure they know help is out there,” said Stowe.

Stowe was also a member of Riverton’s HOPE Squad. It’s a student organization created to help classmates with suicidal thoughts.

Stowe said Riverton had three student suicides in the past school year and he joined the HOPE Squad in an effort to try and help his classmates.

“Make sure they feel like it’s a thing they can talk about to you. That you’re listening and you’re there for them,” said Stowe. “We want to talk about suicide. We want everyone to know it’s an okay thing to talk about.”

There were also some parents who attended the suicide prevention class.

Jana Brady was one of them. She has a daughter and learned some tips on how to talk to her if she ever said she was having suicidal thoughts.

“I think the most important thing I learned was how to talk to people, and how not to talk to people. Some of the things that we talked about not doing were things I might have done,” said Brady.

That included language like telling someone who is suicidal that they’re dumb for thinking about it or that it was a stupid idea.

Instead, experts have said you should listen to them and let them know they’re not alone.

“Be open, be honest, don’t be condescending,” said Stowe.

Stowe has seen what a difference just talking can make. He has noticed a change in those who have opened up to him.

“It is so good to see because they’re back and they’re happy and they’re free,” said Stowe. “It feels like the burden of having that on their shoulders has been lifted.”

It’s never too late to ask for help. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, they can call a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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