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SALT LAKE CITY — Suicide prevention is a priority for one student group, and on Monday those students set up a 3-D art instillation at the University of Utah's Marriott Library.
The yellow boxes, installed by the group Yellow for Life, spell out "LIFE." Students are encouraged to write messages on the blank boxes, such as their reasons for living and why they’re still here.
It’s another way to remind folks that help is out there.
"Kids can come write messages of hope and inspiration and why they keep (living) and want to live," said Yellow for Life ambassador president Marin Murdock.
Yellow for Life’s goal
Yellow for Life is a recently-founded organization at the University of Utah. Its goal is to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
Amid the books and stress of studying, these Yellow for Life ambassadors hope the "LIFE" exhibit will give attention to their organization’s mission. They also hope to give fellow students a sense of community in a state overwhelmingly impacted by suicide.
"I had a really close friend who committed suicide in high school," said Yellow for Life ambassador secretary Sam Adams.
Murdock also spoke about her high school in Herriman.
"I graduated two years ago, but my high school had eight suicides this last year," she said.
State officials said groups like Yellow for Life help reduce the risk of someone taking his or her own life.
- Talking about wanting to die
- Looking for a way to kill oneself
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide but may not be what causes a suicide.
Information from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Just as student groups are helping, so is the state.
Suicide prevention coalition
The Utah Division of Substance and Mental Health has its Suicide Prevention Coalition.
"There’s people here to help," said Suicide Prevention program manager Allison Whitworth. "We here at the division and many community partners around the state are doing everything we can. Don’t be afraid to reach out."
They also encourage folks to get trained to recognize suicidal warning signs. You’ll find a list of trainings at utahsuicideprevention.org.
"A lot of times the hardest part is asking the question, but we know asking the question can save a life," Whitworth said. "That's proven through research. It's not going to increase risk by talking about it. It's going to save lives."
The students we spoke to hope the "LIFE" exhibit will show others there is help and hope out there.
It will be on display at the Marriott Library, 295 S. Campus Drive, Salt Lake City, through Friday. For more information about the Yellow for Life organization, head to their Instagram page, @yellow.4.life, or yellowforlife.org
Two things to do (right now)
Whitworth noted there are two things everyone should do:
"Take out your cellphones right now," she said. "Put in the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. That’s 1-800-273-TALK.
"Also, you can download the Safe UT app on your cellphones," she added. "You can chat with an online crisis worker at any time."
The suicide prevention hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Utah County Crisis Line: 801-226-4433
- Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
- Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386