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James Donaldson on Mental Health – Suicide is Preventable

(ABC4 News – Salt Lake City, UT) Suicide is the leading cause of teenage death in Utah. But, suicide is preventable and everyone has a role to play.
557 – That’s the average number of people in Utah that die each year due to suicide.
I sat down with Taylor Hagen’s Mom, Cristie North. She told me; “Taylor had everything. Taylor had a family that loved him and supported him. He went to a good school. He played hockey all over the country.”
Taylor Hagen suffered from depression. He died from suicide. Mental health is something that some people have a hard time talking about. Taylor’s family wants to try to give people a different vision on the issue.

Siblings can have some pretty deep conversations. Katie North, was close with her brother; “He wanted to break the stigma for mental health and be able to talk to people openly instead of having to hide our struggles all the time and be real with one another.”
Taylor had a dream. With the help of local custom apparel manufacturer, Huge Brands, they made his dream of “Infinite Vision” a reality. According to Cristie; “He had been talking about it for probably a couple of years before we lost him in January. We brought his vision to life in April, on his birthday, after he passed.”
A percentage of all Infinite Vision sales go to help support mental health awareness and suicide prevention with the mantra of “Wake up your mind. Wake up your soul.”
I asked Kenny North, Taylor’s Dad, about what that mantra means. He said; “It means to me, and probably meant to Taylor, is that you don’t want to be controlled by just your mind.”

Part of the healing process for this family is the Taylor Hagen Memorial Foundation. They do suicide prevention presentation in local schools. They also help mothers, like Genna Thomsen, who’s son died from suicide.
Genna told me through tears;  “After our son died, I said we were dented and not broken and I was wrong. Losing your baby breaks things in your mind and heart. And you wonder sometimes in the hope and healing if you’re ever going to find either completely.”

It’s important to note that suicide is preventable. There is help. If you, or a loved one is contemplating suicide you can call 1-800-TALK (8255). There is a free smart phone app called SAFE UT. You can find out more about the app and download at: https://healthcare.utah.edu/uni/programs/safe-ut-smartphone-app/
These stories deserve to be told. These are Utah Caring Stories. I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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