PROVO — "Bully-cide" is a new term being used to describe when someone takes their own life as a result of being bullied.
It's a problem that will take a united effort to combat, and one Utah educator is making it a bit easier for everyone to access a successful suicide prevention curriculum he helped to create.
Dr. Greg Hudnall, associate superintendent of the Provo City School District, has spent hundreds of hours speaking to thousands of people all over the state about suicide prevention. His reasons are personal.
"I was a high school principal notified by police there was a student with no identification who had taken his life in the park next to my school," Hudnall said.
He had to identify the body, and afterwards vowed to do everything he could to prevent another death by suicide.
HOPE Task Force resources
- Education for community and groups: Presentations that increase education, awareness and provide prevention information. Call 374-4802 for more information
- Survivor group: Group meets monthly. visit groups.msn.com/heartandsoulsuicidesurvivors.
- Utah County Crisis Line: 801-226-4433
- Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
- National Crisis Line: 1-800-784-2433
- Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386
"Over the next four or five months, I reached out and invited 40 different providers," he said.
Then he organized the HOPE Task Force for Suicide Prevention, which brings together community leaders, mental health experts and also included a comprehensive peer-mentoring program. The impact has been remarkable.
"It's just not helping people avoid suicide," student Adriana Ojuka said, "it's helping people avoid depression."
The Provo School District used to average one to two suicides a year, but the district is now going on its eighth year without a suicide.
Recently, Hudnall used the Provo District model to create Hope4Utah.com. The site offers training opportunities, and outlines what to do when a student is in crisis and how to handle the aftermath of a suicide.
"Because of contagions and other things, we want to do everything we can, if we've had a suicide, to make sure we intervene to make sure we don't have another one," an instructional video on the site states.
Utah ranks 10th in the nation for the most youth suicides. In 2011, 19 teenagers killed themselves, and more than 300 attempted suicide.
There is much work to be done, and it can be difficult. But those who find the courage and strength to carry on prevention efforts will save lives.
"As we talk about it, what we want to talk about are the resources," Hudnall said. "There is help. We can prevent suicide."
For more information on the Hope4Utah program, visit hope4utah.com.
Video Contribution: Nadine Wimmer