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Suicide prevention advocates ascend on Utah’s Capitol Hill

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC4 News) – Suicide is the leading cause of death for young people ages 10-17 in Utah and the seventh leading cause of death overall in our state.

Local advocates, who have felt the pain, are working to bring the devastating trend down.

Tuesday, they took their stories of loss and pain to Utah’s Capitol Hill.

Brandon Callor lost his brother-in-law.

“I felt the guilt of not seeing the signs. My wife felt the guilt because she had thought she saw the signs but didn’t expect the outcome,” said Callor, board member for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

For Taryn Hiatt, it was her father.

“When we lost him, it just became a topic we needed to better understand and address because my family was desperately searching for support and resources,” said Hiatt, area director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

With those stories in hand, Hiatt and Callor joined forces with about 90 other prevention advocates to call local lawmakers to action.

They are asking them to support four bills up for consideration this session:

House Bill 58, to create an overdose and suicide fatality examiner and the Opioid and Overdose Fatality Review Committee

House Bill 209, the Extreme Risk Protective Order, creating a court-approved process to remove weapons from someone showing extreme signs

House Bill 17, to expand access to firearm safety and suicide prevention materials.

And, a bill expected to come out soon to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth.

They say these are all crucial steps to help reach a goal set by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“We have a very lofty goal of reducing the suicide rate by 20 percent by 2025,” Callor said.

A lofty goal, driven by those who know the devastation first hand.

“This is a scary thing and a very personal issue. And, every person that is here today has a personal story and they are sharing their why,” said Hiatt.

In hope of keeping others from having to share their why down the road.

If you or somebody you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts you can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, visit utahsuicideprevention.org or use the SafeUT smartphone app.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 Utah team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 Utah News at 4 Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time.. Read More...

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