Suicide Prevention Proclamation signed at Idaho State Capitol

BYU Idaho Scroll, by Alexis Frossasco

On Sept. 12, Brad Little, Lieutenant Governor, signed the Suicide Prevention Proclamation at the Idaho Statehouse, which took place during the National Suicide Prevention Week.

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition and other suicide prevention advocacy groups participated in the event. The National Suicide Prevention Week was held from Sept. 10 to 16.

Shannon Decker, executive director and co-founder of The Speedy Foundation and participant of the proclamation signing, said the decision to start this institution and its mission as an organization are very important for her.

“It means a lot to me,” Decker said. “It is a platform for action as opposed to feelings of regret. We want the community to learn about not only the warning signs, but also the words they need to use to help someone, and ultimately how and where they can reach out for help.”

Decker said she lost her cousin, Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, a three-time Olympian, to suicide in 2011.

“It was very hard,” Decker said. “But he tried his best, and that is what we want to continue to do in this institution.”

The Speedy Foundation pioneered the creation of the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline.

“Idaho was behind in providing resources due to budget cuts,” Decker said. “There was no hotline in Idaho.”

According to the Suicide Prevention Action Network of Idaho, withdrawing from friends, family or society; threatening to, talking or writing about suicide, and agitation, especially combined with sleeplessness are among the most prevalent warning signs that someone considering suicide usually displays.

As the second leading cause of death for Idahoans ages 15-34 and for males up to age 44, the Speedy Foundation and other organizations aim to raise awareness of the alarming reality that suicide presents, as well as to provide training and resources for the community. The Speedy Foundation offers workshops in different cities of Eastern Idaho.

According to Mormon Newsroom, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reaffirmed the responsibility to unify efforts as families, members of the Church and members of the community, in order to help reduce this critical public health issue.

“The need to act as families and a religious community has never been greater…,” Mormon Newsroom reported. “As disciples of Jesus Christ, we have a sacred duty in our congregations and families to reach out to everyone in our communities. We can’t let youth feel isolated or unwanted.”

On a more local level, the BYU-Idaho Student Health and Counseling Center provides assistance for all students who may display any of these warning signs, or who simply feel they need help.

Emma Angila, a sophomore studying business management, said that having on-campus assistance shows that awareness of this issue is growing, and that these resources might be crucial for someone whose life may be in danger, because they represent the first step towards rehabilitation.

“Simply knowing where to find help on campus either for myself or a friend struggling with suicidal urges could save a life,” Angila said. “These resources are an indication that someone else cares and is aware of this issue. Knowing that they matter puts them on the right path towards healing.”

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline receives calls 24/7 and provides crisis intervention, emotional support and additional information for people who know someone in need.

Although the reaction to adversity is different for everyone, the statistics from afsp.org show suicide is increasing in magnitude, especially among teens and students.

Available resources for those suffering from depression, or other mental illnesses that can lead to suicide, as well as for those who can provide crucial assistance, continue to increase, as is the case of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Mental Health First Aid USA, among others.

Resources during a crisis

Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-(208)-398-HELP [4357]

BYU-I Student Health Center (208)-496-9330

Resources for training

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: afsp.org

Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition:

idahospc.org/find-a-training/

idahospc.org/resources/

Mental Health First Aid USA: mentalhealthfirstaid.org