HEALTHY MIND MATTERS

Family pushes for suicide prevention in face of difficult tragedy

Aug 2, 2023, 7:07 PM

MANTUA, Utah — A Cache Valley family is trying to spread the word about help for suicide prevention and bring some positive change from their own horrible tragedy.

It’s the family of a man who shot and killed his wife before taking his own life.

His family will take part in a walk to prevent suicide here in Mantua. They wish he would have come to them or someone else before things got so bad.

They want others to know help is out there.

No one in this story is trying to make excuses for Dustin Preece but they are still hurting for what he did.

Dustin’s mother Dawn Wilson said, “And I feel like I’m lost without my son.”

His sister Lynze Preece said it was not the Dustin they knew.

 

Dustin Preece

Dustin Preece. (Preece family)

“I mean, I grew up with him and he was completely opposite all of this,” Preece said.

In June Preece shot and killed his wife, Heather, before turning the gun on himself. Their teenage daughter later made the discovery.

Wilson said she also learned after talking with deputies that suicidal threats and attempts number close to one a day in Cache County.

“You have to think of your other family members,” Wilson said. “What’s going to happen after you’re gone? Who has to live through the tragedy?”

They want to get the message to others and get help before things get truly bad.

Lt. Doyle Peck with the Cache County Sheriff’s Office said suicide-related calls have been way up since 2019 with well over 330 in 2022 and nearly 200 so far this year.

“We would always say ‘One suicide is one too many,’” Peck said. “It’s not getting better right now. We do know there’s a lot of resources out there, which is what I always try to tell people.”

 

988 Crisis hotline

(KSL TV)

That’s the kind of message these grieving family members want to get out. They’re making up t-shirts with the 988 suicide prevention hotline.

Wilson said, “We can’t have any more suicides. We just can’t.”

Preece added, “People just need to be kind and respectful with one another because you never know what somebody’s got going on.”

They can’t help but wonder that if Dustin would have gotten help, maybe two more people would be alive today.

The Preece family is also considering whether to start a foundation to provide scholarships for those looking into mental health careers.

That walk to prevent suicide is set for September 16 in Mantua.

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

Center for Workplace Mental Health offers suicide prevention and response for employers.

 

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Family pushes for suicide prevention in face of difficult tragedy