HERRIMAN, Utah – Since last summer at least six Herriman High School students took their own lives. Now, a former HHS student who tried to kill herself is sharing her story in the hopes of helping others.
“I will never let myself go back to that place,” said 17-year-old Carly Jessop, standing in front of the school she used to attend.
Today, Carly is an aspiring actress, a soon-to-be high school graduate, and a survivor of her own suicide attempt.
“Kids think mental illness is a joke,” said Carly.
“You don’t know that feeling until you go through it,” she added, thinking back on her long journey with depression.
At the beginning of her sophomore year, Carly started going to school at Herriman High School.
“No matter what I did, I couldn’t fit in,” she said.
Growing up in a digital age only made things worse for Carly.
“We’re not getting human connection or connecting with each other, we’re doing it all through our phones,” she said regarding students’ constant need for affirmation. “It made me feel alone, really alone.”
Carly started slipping deeper into depression,
“You are so deep into this vacant hole, there’s nothing around you, you are in the dark, you don’t know where you are… and you feel this pain in your heart that’s just, it’s clinching you, and it feels like it’s trapping you down there and there’s no way of getting out,” Carly said.
The students around her never noticed.
“’You’re so pretty, nothing’s ever happened to you, it seems like you have a happy life,” Carly said of how other students treated her.
“What I was feeling at the time, I felt so empty,” she said.
Carly started missing class, she tried to talk to counselors at the school but felt they didn’t understand.
“’Look I haven’t been to school very often, I’m going through all of these emotions, I’m not feeling like I can go through with this,’” Carly told her counselor.
“I wanted to just drop out and honestly leave the school because I was just… done, I was done,” she said.
She tried to talk to her parents, but they didn’t understand either.
“I felt like I couldn’t reach out to anyone, I felt like it was my secret to keep,” she said. “I just decide one night… I’m done.”
“I decided that that was my only choice, my only way out of hurting,” said Carly.
Carly tried to take her own life.
“What did I just do," she thought afterward.
Carly said she called a friend to pick her up and take her to the hospital.
When all was said and done, nothing changed.
“I didn’t feel anything after, I was just like ‘well that didn’t work,’” she said.
Carly spent the next ten days at a Psychiatric facility at Primary Children’s Hospital, a place she said finally gave her the help that she needed.
Carly said while at the facility, she learned coping skills and how to make herself more positive and mindful.
“It was a really hard thing to go through, but I’ve come out of it stronger than I will ever be,” she said.“I matter to a lot of people."
With a new lease on life, she now she hopes that her story will help even one of her peers to feel like they’re not alone.
“It’s like a ripple effect, you tell your story and that could eventually help so many people, so many kids,” Carly said smiling.
“There’s going to be another one (suicide), after another one if we don’t stand up and talk to these kids," she said.
Carly now attends Southpointe Adult High School. She is set to graduate this year (a year early) and wants to start speaking at area high schools to share her story.
Resources are available to anyone who is having thoughts of suicide. The "SafeUT" app can connect individuals to a counselor.
People can also call 1-800-273-TALK. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts.