HEALTHY MIND MATTERS

1,200 attend UVU suicide prevention and awareness conference

Oct 7, 2022, 1:23 PM | Updated: Feb 9, 2023, 5:15 pm

OREM, Utah — One day, one conference with a lifetime of potential opportunities. That’s how organizers have summed up this year’s suicide prevention conference at Utah Valley University.

Retired California Highway Patrol Sgt. Kevin Briggs was the keynote speaker. He shared his experiences as the so-called “Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge.” In his 23-year career patrolling the Golden Gate Bridge, he encountered people and would encourage them to choose life when they were close to ending it.

Twelve hundred people either attended in person or online for the sold-out conference. The numbers have grown since its inception six years ago.

“We want people to leave with the tools and skills to provide hope for the future to show people that there is another way,” said Candida Johnson, Utah Valley University marketing & communications manager.

This year, organizers focused on bringing in more organizations so people could learn about services because tracking down who to consult or where to go is often daunting.

They also honored those lives lost to suicide with a dove release ceremony. Johnson said this setting would hopefully encourage more people to talk about it.

“Help them know that what they’re feeling is nothing to be ashamed of and there’s nothing that’s wrong with them,” Johnson added. “We need to break that stigma.” 

The conversation will continue Monday at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute summit at Snowbird Resort for World Mental Health Day.

Some 200 organizations will participate to work on a shared message to help all communities.


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 (833-372-3388)
  • 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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1,200 attend UVU suicide prevention and awareness conference