MENTAL HEALTH

Utah’s Hope Hero Foundation is saving teen lives

Mar 28, 2024, 2:39 PM | Updated: Mar 29, 2024, 7:24 am

Hope Hero Foundation Logo on key chain...

Teens are getting a sense of empowerment over mental health at Utah's Hope Hero Foundation.

DAVIS COUNTY — The Hope Hero Foundation, a Utah-based organization, is taking proactive steps to promote mental health empowerment among teens locally and across the U.S. 

Last year, Elysia Butler suffered a third traumatic brain injury.

“I couldn’t open my eyes for two weeks,” Butler said.

That happened around the same time her organization, The Hope Hero Foundation, was getting started. 

“It took about a month before I had my eyes open for an hour a day,” Butler said.

Once her eyes were open, her mission to proactively prevent teen suicide hit the ground running in her iconic red shoes.

The Hope Hero Foundation website. It works with students to prevent teen suicide.

The Hope Hero Foundation website.

The founder said it is important if we are going to help save kids’ lives that we hear from teens and what they need. 

“What we’re doing is flipping the script and saying, ‘We know you’re going to go through some of these challenges, so let’s prepare you to be the hero of your own story,’” Butler said.

The push to proactively help teens came from her background as a teacher. She spent time with students on a daily basis and in her home. She even helped save her child’s life who was struggling at 7 years old.

“The Hope Hero Foundation has a mission of catching kids before they fall,” Butler said.

Local teens including sophomores and juniors are breaking out their own red shoes and sharing stories and words of wisdom to help others who may be walking a similar path. 

“Take it one percent at a time, and even if one percent takes a week to make it through; you did that,” said Kennedy Quast, an organization ambassador.

Seth Wilson, another local student and organization ambassador, said, “There’s always someone who’s supporting you.”

“You can be that hero of your own story if you really take the time to do that,” Laynie Anderson said. She’s also an organization ambassador.

Butler said parents, family members, and community leaders also have a role in making a positive impact on the mental health and well-being of each other.

“It’s about the entire family, especially the parents to lead by example to really get in there and do the work with their kids,” Amanda Anderson said, a mom and a board member for the Hope Hero Foundation.

Tim Roper, a Clearfield City Councilor and dad said,  “This organization is treating the problem instead of the symptoms of it.”

Butler said some of her workbooks and materials are being considered at some universities and schools in Utah. Her goal is to continue helping as many students as possible.  

“These kids are incredible, and they want to show us as adults that they’re capable,” she said.

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Utah’s Hope Hero Foundation is saving teen lives