Facebook suicide prevention tool could have saved daughter, Utah mom says

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – The last time Dana Clemmer heard from her daughter, Talyn, was through text message on March 28. 

The text simply said “I love you very much.” 

The 16-year-old Tooele girl shot and killed herself moments later in her car. Talyn’s father found her. 

It’s a pain Clemmer wants no parent to ever have to endure. 

“She was my only child,” said Clemmer. “My whole world revolved around her.”

Teen suicide has been a major problem in Tooele. The Life’s Worth Living Foundation was created by Jon Gossett to reach out to people in Tooele County and elsewhere in Utah who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. 

Suicide is an epidemic in Utah. The Utah Dept. of Health says suicide is the leading cause of death among children ages 10-17. 

That’s why Facebook announced Monday it’s unveiling a new artificially intelligent tool to combat suicidal thoughts shared on the social media site. The tool, tested since March, flags certain keywords that may indicate whether a user may be considering suicide. 

Utah Dept. of Human Services Suicide Prevention Coordinator Kim Myers praised the effort Tuesday. 

“This is one way where the technology sort of gets to catch up with what is going on, and actually provide a really helpful service for folks,” said Myers, who added many people turn to social media as a cry for help before committing suicide. 

Clemmer said she wishes the tool existed at the time of her daughter’s suicide. She said Talyn sent some friends a Snapchat message shortly before her death, asking if they would miss her if she was gone. Clemmer said Talyn’s friends didn’t think anything of it and did not think to inform her mother of the message. 

Clemmer said other than seemingly normal teenage hormonal behavior, she saw no signs her daughter was suffering. Today, after grappling with her daughter’s death for months, she believes her purpose is to educate people about suicide prevention. 

“I want to educate and prevent this from happening to another person, child or family,” she said. 

The Utah Department of Health would like to remind Utahns that suicide is preventable. If you or someone you know needs help, there’s the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For more information, visit utahsuicideprevention.org.

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