How A Suicide Survivor Found Healing, Motivation After Crisis
SOUTH JORDAN, Utah – Families and friends have been raising awareness around the warning signs and available resources to people struggling, as part of National Suicide Prevention Week.
Survivors have also stepped forward to share their stories of light and healing.
Music has always been a part of 21-year-old Brittany Brown’s life. She is an incredibly talented violinist and a beautiful dancer.
“I really love it. It definitely helps with my mental health. Things I don’t want to talk about I’ll dance about or play the violin about,” she said.
It helped her cope with depression as a teenager.
“I didn’t understand why I didn’t feel happy at all,” she said.
Eventually music and dance weren’t enough. She started self-harming to manage her emotional pain, and eventually withdrew from classes at Brigham Young University.
“I wouldn’t get out of bed. I never changed my clothes. I didn’t brush my hair. I was seriously lower than anyone really knows,” Brown said.
Last November, Brown hit an all-time low.
“I’m too tired to go another day. I can’t even make it through today. I can’t talk about next week,” she said as she described her feelings at that time.
Brown was hospitalized for 11 days at the U of U University Neuropsychiatric Institute in Salt Lake City. She started on medication and began an intensive outpatient program at Suncrest Counseling that included individual, group, and art therapy.
Brown said dancing was still therapeutic and helpful in her recovery. She just finished participating in a special production called Fighter sponsored by 90&9 where she portrayed the role of someone with depression and anxiety. She described how she felt like she was dancing the role of her own life.
She has also developed other new skills to help her heal. She practices self-care like painting her nails and breathing techniques to help her relax, and has learned to talk about what she is feeling.
“Just talking about it, letting it out, writing it on paper or talking to a counselor—therapy. Everyone needs it like a dentist,” she said.
Brown also surrounds herself with positive people like her best friend, Hayden, who has Down Syndrome. She takes care of him a few times each week by taking him out to lunch and doing fun activities together like bowling.
“He’s the only person in this world that make me 100% happy 100% of the time,” she said. “He’s been a lot of the saving grace in my life.”
Brown encourages others struggling with suicidal ideation to not give up.
“Life is so fun when you are healthy and it’s so easy and I now get why people love living,” she said. “I’ve not felt this good since I was like 12-years-old, and I like love life!”
Suicide Prevention Resources
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Additional Crisis Hotlines
- Utah County Crisis Line: 801-226-4433
- Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
- Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
- National Suicide Prevention Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741
- Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386
- University Of Utah Crisis Interventional Crisis Line: 801-587-300
- NAMI Utah
- Utah Chapter-American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Safe UT Crisis Text and Tip Line
In an emergency:
- Call the police
- Go to the emergency room
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