Tooele fighting suicide with message of hope

News
TOOELE, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – People in Tooele County are spreading the message of hope. You can now see it on the road, and struggling students can get help from a trained friend at school. It’s part of growing concern to stop suicide.

Students in the Tooele County School District are working to give others hope.

“Hope Squad is basically a friend to whoever needs it,” said Ebsa Eshete, Hope Squad student.

“We want to help people hold onto life and to hold onto the happiness that they have,” said Anisha McKendrick, Hope Squad student.

Their classmates voted for them as members of Hope Squad. It’s meant to be a listening ear for other students who may be contemplating suicide.

“Suicide is hard topic to talk about,” said Dominic Valerio, Hope Squad student.

Whether the pressure is coming from social media or other places, suicide is a real issue in Tooele County. The Tooele County Health Department reports last year 7 students in the Tooele area took their own lives, and the overall suicide rate is slightly higher than the rest of the State.

“Suicide is the #1 cause of death for young people age 10 to 24,” said Amy Bate, Tooele County Health Department, Spokesperson.

That’s why a billboard has gone up on I-80 near the Tooele exit. It encourages people struggling with suicide to seek help.

“It’s a message of hope that says ‘With help comes hope.’ It’s promoting the National Suicide Prevention Hotline,” said Bate.

Whether people call the number, or talk to a student, the message they want to convey is one of hope.

“There are people you can talk to and and there is hope out there for you,” said Valerio.

“At the end of every dark night, there’s always a brighter day,” said McKendrick.

This weekend the Tooele County Health Department is also holding an event it calls “Hope is on the Rise.” On Saturday at 5:30 a.m. people will release lanterns to raise suicide awareness, followed by a 5K race at 6:30 a.m. If you’d like to attend, click on this link to learn more information at tooelehealth.org, and look for the upcoming calendar event on the right side of the page.

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