SUICIDE PREVENTION

Salem teenager using a T-shirt and a message to connect people impacted by suicide

Sep 4, 2022, 11:30 PM | Updated: Sep 15, 2022, 10:10 am

SALEM, Utah — A Salem teenager is connecting with other teens who’ve been impacted by anxiety, depression and suicide — with a t-shirt.

Jackson Eyre is a TikToker whose videos might give his 423,000 followers the impression that his life is nothing but dancing, goofing around and hanging out with pretty girls.

However, just a few years ago, when the college freshman was in junior high school, he was having a tough time.

“[Jackson would] say, ‘You know, everyone’s nice to me at school, but no one wants to hang out with me on the weekends and I just feel like I don’t have any friends,’” said Tancy Eyre, Jackson’s mom. “’I just feel like I’m so alone.’”

Meanwhile, his sister, Jane Eyre, was dealing with anxiety and depression.

”She just really withdrew from everybody. And she’d stay in her room a lot,” Tancy said.

Jane got help, and her mom says she is doing much better.

When Jackson was 14, though, his good friend and cousin, Kellan Eyre, died by suicide.

“I went outside and I laid on the grass and I looked in the stars and said ‘Kellan, I’m sorry. I wish I could have said something, I could have done something,’” Jackson recalled.

Jackson Eyre, 14, and his cousin, Kellan Eyre.

To perhaps make up for what he thought he might have said or done, Jackson began reaching out to people at school – giving compliments to students he didn’t know but who looked like they could use it.

“It felt like I had to,” he said.

“[Jackson is] really just kind of been on a mission to make others happy,” his mom said.

Jackson also used a Sharpie to write a message on a blank T-shirt: “The world’s a better place with you in it.” He eventually wore that shirt to school and then had it properly printed at a relative’s print shop. He said a portion of the proceeds will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

He wore it in his TikTok videos and followers, especially men, took notice.

“You think you gotta be this tough kid. If you’re on the football team, you can’t be soft, you can’t shed a tear. Guys think they have to be too strong to cry or show emotion,” Jackson said. “As simple as it (the message) sounds, it’s necessary that we hear that again.”

@jacksoneyre The Worlds a better place with you in it 🙂 in my bi0 #fyp #love #Totinos425 ♬ trend lá – que delícia ain🧚‍♀️

Pretty soon, Jackson was selling the shirt across the country and getting messages of support.

One person wrote, “I’ve struggled with depression and suicide multiple times, but I’ve never really opened up about it,”  “and I think your shirt will let me express myself.”

A father and son who’d lost a son and brother to suicide even asked if they could have the message image tattooed on their wrists, which they did.

“There’s so much more to life with you here, and never be afraid to be yourself,” Jackson said. “You know, it’s OK to try to fit in but it’s also OK to just be you. The world really is a better place with all of us in it. All of us, that’s what makes here, here.”


Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 which is answered 24/7/365 by crisis counselors at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. All calls to legacy crisis hotlines, including the old National Suicide Prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255, will also connect to a crisis care worker at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute as well.

Additional resources

  • SafeUT: Parents, students, and educators can connect with a licensed crisis counselor through chat by downloading the SafeUT app or by calling 833-3SAFEUT (833-372-33888)
  • SafeUT Frontline: First responders, including firefighters, law enforcement, EMS, and healthcare professionals can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUT Frontline app.
  • SafeUTNG: Members of the National Guard can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUTNG app.
  • Utah Warm Line: For non-crisis situations, when you need a listening ear as you heal and recover from a personal struggle, call 1-833 SPEAKUT 8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • The Huntsman Mental Health Institute offers a wide variety of programs and services including suicide prevention and crisis services, hospital treatment, therapy & medication management, substance Use & addiction recovery, child & teen programs, and maternal mental health services including birth trauma, pregnancy loss, infertility, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
  • LiveOnUtah.org is a statewide effort to prevent suicide by promoting education, providing resources, and changing Utah’s culture around suicide and mental health. They offer resources for faith based groups, LGBTQ+, youth, employers, firearm suicide prevention, and crisis and treatment options.

Other community-based resources

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Salem teenager using a T-shirt and a message to connect people impacted by suicide