SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A new statewide effort is underway to prevent suicide and help those struggling with mental health.

The program is a 10-lesson course called LiveOnUtah created by local mental health experts designed to help as many Utahns as possible.

“We have been searching for answers on this issue for years,” said CEO of Silicon Slopes, Clint Betts.

The unveiling of LivOnUtah was presented by Silicon Slopes, one of the businesses encouraging the course, in Lehi.  

The latest data from the Department of Health and Human Services revealed that 91% of Utahns have been impacted by suicide.

On Tuesday, the LiveOnUtah suicide prevention course was launched entirely on Instagram.

The purpose of the program is to help any Utahn who may be struggling with mental health and to support those with a desire to help those struggling. 

“The loss associated with suicide is really complicated,” said Suicide Prevention Program Administrator, Allison Foust. “It is a complicated type of grief and we often find ourselves asking ‘What could I have done?’ or ‘ Was there anything I could have done?’

LiveOnUtah promises to help Utahns find answers to those questions.

“This program was developed because suicide is a tough conversation,” said Foust. “It is something we all want to be involved in and make a difference in every day. We just do not know how.”

It was a conversation that helped inspire the new statewide program, which is accessible online as well as in-person.

“I sat there for what seemed like forever,” said Joe Tuia’ana. “I sat there cradling … cradling this young man in my arms.”

The Father of three, Joe Tuia’ana, was taking his girls to a basketball game when he noticed a young man climbing the barricades on I-15 near Lehi back in January.

He said his fatherly sense took over and something seemed wrong.

“We cried together,” said Tuia’ana. “All I could muster through my tears was ‘I love you, bro.'”

Tuia’ana said nothing else was spoken between them; no questions, no explanations, no preaching.

“This moment changed my life forever,” he shared.

Tuia’ana’s life, the young man’s life, and both their families’ lives will be forever different.

LiveOnUtah promises to live up to that standard.

Utahns have already been sharing their excitement and support on the program’s Instagram page.

One commenter wrote, “Want to feel prepared know how to be helpful, and avoid saying hurtful things!” while another said, “I think this will be very helpful in knowing ways to help my students learn tools to help talk to adults or friends about suicide.”

“My suicide prevention experience was a once-in-a-million, probably a once-in-ten-million experience,” said Tuia’ana. “The timing was miraculous, but suicide prevention doesn’t usually look that way,”

Tending to someone who may be struggling with suicidal ideation is about checking in on them, knowing where to turn, how to ask tough questions, and showing empathy and compassion to the people surrounding us.

That’s something Tuia’ana said that men, especially fathers need to understand.

“No more hiding,” said Tuia’ana. “I’m with you dads, I’m with all of you. I love you, bro.

LiveOnUtah can be accessed on Instagram or online.

Text or call 988 if you need any help.