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Sean D. Reyes
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Reach Out for National Suicide Prevention Month

September 27, 2019

During the month of September, we observe National Suicide Prevention Month. It is a time to unite to remember those we’ve lost to suicide, and to reaffirm commitments to work together to drive research, community engagement, and provide the necessary resources to help those in need. This month, the Utah Attorney General’s Office urges everyone to reach out to those around them, to connect, and to be compassionate.

Suicide is a complex, public health issue that affects every person in every community. Despite the strides Utah has made in addressing this crisis, suicide is still a leading cause of death in our state. An average of 592 Utahns die by suicide each year. Even more staggering, is the average of 4,538 Utahns that attempt suicide. These are your neighbors, brothers, sisters, spouses, friends, colleagues, and children. Engaging with and caring for one another is the key to end the stigma that so often comes with mental illness and suicidal thoughts.

Despite the tragic number of people who have reported thoughts of suicide, who have attempted suicide, and those who have lost their lives by suicide, the topic is still met with silence and shame. We urge you to reach out, listen without prejudice, and offer support.

Listed below are resources and organizations dedicated to shining light on suicide prevention. These organizations will help you learn to recognize warning signs and know what actions to take.

If you or someone you know is struggling and/or having thoughts of suicide, please reach out. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741), or message a trained crisis counselor through the SafeUT app. These support lines are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office is proud to partner with organizations such as the Jason Foundation, the SafeUT Commission, the University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI), and Life’s Worth Living Foundation. These organizations help raise awareness of the prevalence of suicide in the State of Utah and provide resources and education on suicide prevention.

Veterans Monument honors vets lost by suicide

Attorney General Sean D. Reyes took a moment to support Life’s Worth Living Foundation’s new veterans monument, PROUD, to help shine a light on the outstanding rate of suicides among veterans.

An average of 20 veterans die every day from suicide, a number that includes active-duty service men and women. Raising awareness and providing resources is key to protecting those who currently serve or have served in our military.

“Over the last couple of decades, we’ve lost far more service men and women to death by suicide than to combat.” – Utah AG Reyes

The statue, sculpted by local artist Dan Snarr, depicts WWII vet Robert Calder. Calder was shot while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and then later fell down an elevator shaft, policing a building, and broke both his legs and back. Calder did not talk about his time in the war until shortly before he passed – a reality far too common among veterans and one that we hope to change. 

Hear more from AG Reyes and artist Dan Snarr below.

The Life’s Worth Living Foundation raised more than enough money to commission the statue and Snarr donated his time and materials for the cause. 

PROUD will be placed in Tooele Veterans Memorial Park on November 10th. The dedication ceremony starts at 2:00 p.m. and will be followed by a concert with up and coming country artists, J. Marc Bailey and Jamie Lee Thurston.