SALT LAKE CITY — A former Provo schools administrator who left his career in education to prevent suicide in the community at large is weighing in on the death of actor-comedian Robin Williams.
Dr. Greg Hudnall is now the executive director of Hope4Utah, a suicide prevention group. In an interview with Utah's Morning News on KSL Newsradio, Hudnall said Williams' death shows suicide does not play favorites.
"It helps us realize that suicide is among us," Hudnall said, "and that even someone as wonderful as Robin Williams was challenged with depression, drugs and alcohol, et cetera."
Hudnall said there is an opportunity with this news to make sure those who suffer from depression get the help they need.
"We lose a Utahn every day to suicide — over 555 suicides last year. And so I think it's important to use the Robin Williams example that we need to intervene with family, friends, children or whoever, because most suicides can be prevented," Hudnall said.
"There's great support," he said, "so don't be afraid to ask that ... person that you're concerned about if they're struggling and if they need help. Then do everything you can to get them help."
Before leaving to create Hope 4 Utah, Hudnall helped orchestrate a suicide prevention program in the Provo schools that was very successful. The district did not have a single suicide in the last eight years of his tenure.
- Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK
- 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
- NAMI Utah: namiut.org
- Salt Lake Mental Health: saltlakementalhealth.com
- Utah Chapter-American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: afsputah.com
Becky Bruce is the executive producer of Utah's Morning News on KSL Newsradio.