MENTAL HEALTH

Cache Valley tackles suicide and sextortion with students

Apr 11, 2024, 7:32 PM | Updated: 7:48 pm

CACHE VALLEY — The North Park Police Chief is hoping to get through to teens and their parents on two important topics: suicide and sextortion.

They’re the focus of an upcoming community meeting. The Hyde Park Youth Council has organized the initiative.

One of the teen members has some concerns about suicide in Cache Valley and the North Park Police Chief wanted to take that a step further with another topic that is often directly related.

“When I had first joined the Youth Council, some kids in the valley had committed suicide recently. So I just kind of had that on my mind,” Abigail Chatterley said.

Eighth grader Abigail Chatterley

Eighth grader Abigail Chatterley (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

The eighth grader at North Cache Middle School wondered how she could help parents and teens work together to save lives.

“And it made me feel so bad that people felt like they couldn’t talk to anybody about their struggles,” she added.

That internal turmoil can be stoked through chats, texts, social media and often something else you might not expect.

Chief Kent Goodrich said, “Our experience we’ve seen as a police department that the two topics, sextortion and suicide, are linked together. They have a close tie together.”

Goodrich said he already wanted to reach out to the community about sextortion, a growing problem not only here, but everywhere.

North Park Police Chief Kent Goodrich

North Park Police Chief Kent Goodrich (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

“We have seen a huge increase,” Goodrich said. “It is alarming. It is concerning to us.”

The perpetrators reach out to Utah’s kids from far away. Just last month Daniel Roy Kromer Jr., a Pennsylvania firefighter, was arrested in Utah. He is accused of soliciting nude photos from two North Logan teens.

“And so our goal with this is to try to help parents have that shame-free conversation, how to start that communication with their children,” Goodrich said.

Kids need to know they have somewhere to turn, when they may think there’s no way out.

Goodrich said it’s easy to react with anger, but kids need to know they can ask for help knowing someone will have their back.

Chatterley said, “I’m so grateful this is happening, that this awareness is coming to this community.”

A meeting and community discussion is set for April 29 at Skyview High School, starting at seven p.m.

Goodrich will cover sextortion and the director of Cache County Victim Services will talk about suicide prevention.

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Cache Valley tackles suicide and sextortion with students