21% of students dealing with suicidal thoughts, SafeUT report shows

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – According to a new SafeUT Report, suicidal thoughts continue to plague Utah’s children. During the last school year, the organization made nearly 300 life-saving interventions.

SafeUT tells ABC4 as COVID-19 spikes, their staff is getting the same amount of emergency calls, implying the pandemic is increasing the frequency of students experiencing a mental health crisis.

Laura M. Warburton‘s daughter Hannah was a martial arts specialist who excelled in school.

She believes Hanah suffered from too many concussions leading to her not remembering day-to-day life.

“You know, it’s been seven years, and it still hurts. It’s that pain I can always find,” says Warburton. “She just couldn’t figure a way to end the pain. So she ended her life.”

Warburton doesn’t want any other parents to feel her pain and started the Live Hannah’s Hope website as a resource. She also points to a new report by SafeUT showing more kids are crying for help.

Suicide, bullying, depression, crisis, and mental health all topping the tip categories.

“We saw 298 life-saving interventions last year,” Supervisor Denia-Marie Ollerton of SafeUT tells us. “It is important for us to know that [suicide] is still an issue for us in Utah. And the good news is people are reaching out for help.”

Some of those interventions came from the more than 30,300 chats held online with students.

“I know in general help-seeking tends to lean more to females. However, a lot of the suicide deaths in Utah are in males,” says Ollerton.

In a study of 304 people, SafeUT found 44 percent of those students were suffering from bullying. But, only 4 percent of students reported the abuse.

When asked if the bullying was related to masking Ollerton says, “Bullying is still happening and we may not be always hearing about it on the app.”

Warburton says letting your child know you are with them during their struggles and that they are not a burden goes a long way to helping them find the help they need.

“And if they say, ‘no not really,’ that’s a yes. If they say, ‘well I did before but not right now,’ that’s a yes. And you can ask them, ‘well, do you have a plan?’ And just let them talk because the kids want to talk. They want to talk about this, they do not want to feel that alone.” she says. “The beautiful thing about SafeUT is that it’s free, it’s private, and you can use it. Parents can use it.”

Experts say isolation, drug use, and family problems are a few things that may cause kids to think about suicide.

“I want parents to know that if they get themselves fixed. If they go to therapy, if they learn MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, if they learn some process of addressing their pain, their kids will notice, and that goes way, farther than any lecture they could give them.”

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