Free local courses teach you how to recognize signs of mental health, suicide risks in youth

Local News

SALT LAKE COUNTY (News4Utah)- In Utah youth suicide rates have tripled since 2007. In fact, suicide is now the leading cause of death among 10 to 17-year-old.

With one of the highest youth suicide rates in the nation, it’s important for those who interact with young people to be able recognize warning signs.

That’s why two local organizations–Optum and The Speedy Foundation— have come together to offer free courses to the community. The courses are designed to teach parents, teachers, coaches, or anyone who spends time with kids and teens, how to identify and support those in crisis.

Julie Hardle has helped train hundreds of people throughout the Salt Lake Area in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and serves as the manager of recovery and resiliency for Optum.

She’s says during the classes participants learn how to assess the person for risk of harm or suicide, listen non-judgmentally, give reassurance, and encourage the person to seek professional help.

“It’s critical that we learn to talk about mental health,” she said. “We hope these training courses will serve as a springboard to increase awareness about these important issues and the resources available to help.”

The Youth MHFA courses will be available throughout the year to the public. 
To sign up for future sessions, contact Julie Hardle at or call Optum Salt Lake County at (801) 982-3217

“The important thing is to let people know there is hope for recovery – the first step is simply asking for help and that’s where this training can be a great resource,” Hardle said.

If you someone you know are having thoughts of suicide there is help. Call the Salt Lake County Crisis Line at (801)587-3000 or the national suicide hotline at1-800-273-8255.

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