SANDY, Utah – Students at Jordan High School covered the school in yellow this week. It’s a color that represents suicide awareness.
The Utah Department of Health reports on average 402 Utahns die from suicide every year, it’s the second leading cause of death among teens aged 10-17. Tuesday hundreds gathered for an optional assembly, to learn more about dealing with suicidal thought, and recognizing them in others.
“The thing about suicide is, it’s 100% preventable,” says Taryn Aiken, Chair of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Utah Chapter. “There are things we can do to help somebody when they are in trouble.”
Aiken talked to students about warning signs, and resources available for teens and their friends.
Students also heard from Tanner Kirk. Tanner attempted to hang himself at age 13. The suicide attempt left him with permanent brain damage. He now speaks through a computer and can’t remember his attempt, or why he decided to hang himself. Now Tanner has turned his life toward helping other avoid a similar fate.
“It’s a mistake my family and friends also have to live with,” says Kirk. “A mistake I can never take back.”
Warning signs for suicide include:
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Anxiety, agitation
- Pulling away from family and friends
- Extremely self-hating thoughts
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Researching ways to die
- Sudden mood changes
Aiken also announced an anonymous tip line where students can submit concerns through the internet or by text. Information on the measure can be found at:
Kirk has also started a Facebook page to spread awareness:
Additional information on suicide prevention can be found at American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website: