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A week after son commits suicide, Tooele County parents have advice for other families

STANSBURY PARK, Utah - The Thomsen family hopes people will stop being afraid to talk about suicide.

“There’s no shame in helping one another, there’s no shame in battling this monster,” Trace Thomsen said.

Trace and his wife, Genna, lost their son to suicide just over a week ago.  They said he got straight A’s, and had a charismatic personality.

“He hid something and hid it well under a funny, cute smile,” his mother Genna said.

The Thomsens say their son sometimes talked about friends who brought up the subject of suicide but that their son never told them he was having thoughts himself.

“On the outside, he was a fun, happy kid," Genna added. "But obviously, there was something going on inside that he didn’t get out, and didn’t express."

Last weekend, the Thomsens say their son left home, and shortly after, texted them both ‘I love you.’  It was the last time they heard from him.

According to the Utah State Department, suicide continues to be the number one cause of death in kids from middle school to high school age.

In the days following their son’s death, the Thomsens say they started reading their son’s text messages.

“There were little subtle hints if you go back and read texts to some friends,” his father Trace said. “We didn’t read his texts [before] because we trusted him.  He had straight A’s and came home on time.  There was no reason not to trust him.”

The Department of Health encourages anyone with thoughts of suicide to reach out to the suicide hotline.  The Thomsens also hope that more peers will speak up and speak out if they hear a friend talk about killing themselves.

“Well, we are dealing with the alternative, and the alternative is we don’t have our son.  So, things need to change.”

The National Suicide Prevention LifeLine Hotline # is 1 (800) 273-TALK.