Annual event in southern Utah highlights suicide prevention and sparks hope during the holiday season

Annual event in southern Utah highlights suicide prevention and sparks hope during the holiday season

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Sponsors an International Suicide Survivors Day, November 2022 | File image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE-On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention sponsors an International Suicide Survivors Day for people across the country. Teresa Willie, prevention specialist for Washington County, helped organize this event for southern Utah.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention sponsors an International Suicide Survivor Day in Washington County, November 2022 | Image Bank, St. George News

Willie said it was a day of hope, healing and connecting with others who share similar experiences.

This year, Suicide Survivor Day was held at the City of Washington Library, where suicide survivors gathered to remember their loved ones. This event helps people “find connection, understanding, and hope through their shared experience,” according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website.

The day is all about bringing people together and even helping participants find local support groups. A memory board was set up so attendees had the opportunity to display photos of loved ones they had lost to suicide.

And this day holds special significance for the people of Utah, because according to the Utah Public Health Indicators Reporting System, in 2020 suicide was the leading cause of death among Utah residents. Utah aged 10 to 24 and the second leading cause of death among 24 to 44 year olds. .

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also organizes a “walk out of darkness day” in September. In the past, the march has taken place at the Sullivan Virgin River Soccer Park in Washington.

In addition to these events, Southern Utah offers many other ways for the public to get involved and learn about suicide prevention and awareness throughout the holiday season.

A t-shirt for the Live On Utah suicide prevention campaign, launched at a public event at the Southwest Behavioral Health Center, St. George, Utah, May 11, 2022 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Willie said Utah has been very proactive in providing good resources for suicide prevention and awareness. Some of the places to find help for suicide prevention are online at Live On or Reach4Hope.

Regarding Utah’s Live On campaign, Willie said, “Nobody has anything like it in the world.”

The Live On campaign promotes education and changes the culture around mental health and suicide. Their website provides resources that help people connect with local support groups, learn more about suicide prevention, and get help for themselves or loved ones.

Live On offers several publicly available courses that can be accessed on their website and range in length from one hour to eight hours.

Another resource is This website contains prevention services resources specifically for Southern Utah. It allows people to enroll in free courses that teach about suicide prevention as well as mental health.

Willie also helps instruct QPR (Question, Persuasion, Referral) suicide prevention training programs throughout the region. These training programs are for anyone “strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk for suicide,” according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Utah. It can be anyone from a neighbor to a friend or a teacher.

The training is free and can be taught anywhere as long as there are at least five people willing to participate. Sign up for one of these training sessions through the Southwest Behavioral Health Center.

More information about suicide prevention and education in Southern Utah can be found online.


If you or someone you know is in danger due to suicidal thoughts or actions, call 911 immediately. Suicide is an emergency that requires the help of trained medical professionals and should always be treated seriously. .

Nationwide suicide hotlines, 988, 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) and 1-800-273-TALK (8255), advisors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Southwest Behavioral Health Center also offers assistance to residents of southern Utah; call 800-574-6763 Where 435-634-5600.

Other resources include Suicide.orgthe American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology. All provide comprehensive information and help on the issue of suicide, from prevention to treatment to coping with loss.

Copyright St.George News, LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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