Mental health professionals encourage conversation after West Bountiful teen death
May 24, 2023, 6:10 PM | Updated: Jul 30, 2023, 9:38 pm
WEST BOUNTIFUL, Utah — Friends, family and students at Viewmont High School are mourning the sudden death of a 16-year-old girl after a rock pillar fell on her Tuesday afternoon.
Madolin Morley was celebrating the end of the year with friends at a party in West Bountiful when the accident happened. Her family is asking those who knew her to follow her lead of being a friend to everyone and thinking of others first.
A mental health professional told KSL that’s it essential to pay tribute to loved ones who have passed away, especially when it’s under tragic circumstances.
“A lot of these kids around this time of the year, they’re getting ready for graduation, they’re getting ready to move on,” said Dr. Rene Valles, Medical Director of Children’s Services at Davis Behavioral Health.
And an unexpected death can change all of that.
“It may sometimes even derail or put on hold some of these goals that they’ve had, even since childhood,” Valles explained.
He said that some of Morley’s classmates might feel guilty about the tragic accident and asked their parents to keep an eye on them.
“Keep an open line of communication and check in with your child to see how he or she is doing,” he said.
Valles said parents should encourage their children to honor the person they lost.
“Their friend would want them to carry on and live their legacy through them,” Valles said.
However, some teenagers may want to be left alone. The child psychiatrist said to keep an eye out for sudden and extreme changes in behavior.
“Are they isolating themselves from family, from friends? Are they all of a sudden more irritable, more angry, not sleeping?”
Valles suggests helping them keep a routine at home since it’s summer vacation.
“Keeping yourself on a schedule, it would be really helpful for people’s mental health. It gives them a sense of worth. It cuts down on anxiety, depression,” he said.
He said to call in some extra help if the warning signs of mental health become apparent. Whether students were close friends with Morley or just a classmate, they were experiencing grief.
“They start to notice that, ‘Hey, I’m not invincible after all, and try to help them understand that loss is a bit of part of life is something they’ll be able to grow with,'” Valles said.
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.
- 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.
Counties in Utah provide services for mental health and substance use disorders. Centers are run by the thirteen Local Mental Health and Substance Use Authorities all across the state and offer therapy, substance use disorder treatment, support groups, mobile services, youth treatment, and more.
These resources and more information can be found here: https://www.uacnet.org/behavioralhealth.
Other community-based resources
- NAMI Utah provides education, support and advocacy for individuals and families impacted by mental illness.
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers prevention programs, public education, support for loss survivors, and fundraising for research.
- Encircle Utah: LGBTQ+ family and youth resource center.
- Utah Pride Center empowers Utah’s diverse LGBTQ+ community.
- The Trevor Project: LGBTQ teen resource center.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health
- Latino Behavioral Health Services
- Center for Workplace Mental Health offers suicide prevention and response for employers.