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Alpine District sending mental health crisis postcards to 114,000 households

AMERICAN FORK, Utah – Officials with the Alpine School District urged families to watch their mailboxes for an important magnet postcard that has instructions and resources on what to do during a mental health emergency.

“We just want to kind of normalize the conversation and hope that people will talk to their families the same way you would about poison or fire,” said Stacy Bateman with the district’s Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Bateman said the coalition has been working on the magnet since last November and hopes that it is put on permanent display on kitchen fridges across the district.

“The more that we can get families talking about it and talking about feelings, we’re really hoping that we’re going to save some people that way,” said Bateman.

The magnet postcard has instructions, phone numbers and other resources on what to do if someone is considering suicide or having a mental health crisis.

“Then, in that moment when you don’t have time to think, you don’t actually have to think because everything is right here,” Bateman said about the postcard.

The Alpine School District Suicide Prevention Coalition was able to produce the postcards for the discounted price of $30,000. The entire cost was paid for through donations, according to the coalition.

The postcards are being sent to 114,000 homes in the district’s boundary.

“Every home in the district, student or not, gets one of these,” said coalition member Cathy Ambrose, who is also the executive director of Hope4Orem.

Because of how crucial the topic is, the coalition is asking that people check their mail and not confuse the postcard for junk mail.

“You need to have this conversation, not only at home, but with your neighbors and your community,” said Ambrose.

The two-sided postcard also contains instructions on how to download and utilize the SafeUT application for smartphones, which allows people to call or message a licenses counselor and submit a confidential tip.

“Suicide crisis really can last for a matter of 15 to 20 minutes. So, just that timeframe can change your whole world, and it doesn’t just change your world, it changes a community’s world,” said Ambrose. “It’s so much easier to have this uncomfortable conversation to say, ‘Feelings are normal. Negative feelings happen to everyone and you have a support community here who loves you and the last thing they want is to see you go.’”

The magnets that are arriving in mailboxes this week are in English.

The coalition also printed a version in Spanish that will be available for families to pick up at any school in the district.

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