‘Because of Hannah’: Utah mom who lost daughter to suicide provides resources for others
Nov 20, 2023, 8:07 PM | Updated: Nov 21, 2023, 9:02 am
OGDEN — Laura Warburton remembers her daughter, Hannah, as a warrior.
“Hannah was strong, independent, feisty as heck. She played the piano, sang, she was a student body officer. She had nearly straight A’s,” she said. “She was a skilled martial artist, loved fighting the boys. She’d walk out and she’s this beautiful girl and the boys would be really intimidated and she’d just, boom, take them out. It was awesome.”
Hannah experienced multiple concussions, which triggered intense anxiety and depression.
“She just couldn’t function. She couldn’t think properly. It was painful to watch. She couldn’t remember things; she’d repeat herself quite often. And she was aware enough to know that she wasn’t herself, ” Warburton recalled.
Warburton provided Hannah with all the medical resources she could, but she didn’t know the extent of her daughter’s suffering.
“I did the best I could with the knowledge I had,” she said. “There’s no way I would have let my daughter die.”
In 2014, Hannah took her own life at the age of 16.
“In her letter, she was very clear: she felt like everybody would be better off without her and no one would miss her,” Warburton said. “Obviously, she was wrong.”
Now, Warburton is working to break the stigma around suicide and mental health. She started the nonprofit “Live Hannah’s Hope” to provide help for others who may be or know someone who is struggling.
They even offer a cash prize called the Hannah Warburton Resilience Award for Utah high school seniors who have overcome their own challenges and share their stories. Whenever possible, Warburton goes to the school and presents the award to the student.
“Kids don’t want to hear from me; they don’t want to hear from other adults. They listen to each other,” she said.
Additionally, Warburton opened The Wellness Center — with locations in Huntsville and South Ogden — to help treat people who suffer from post-concussive syndrome, like Hannah did. There, they offer red-light therapy, which has been proven to boost mood and immune health.
As an active advocate, Warburton has also aided in the passing of suicide prevention legislation. In 2018, the Utah House passed “Hannah’s Bill,” named after Warburton’s daughter, to ensure that suicide crisis lines remain staffed 24/7.
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.
- 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
- 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.