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New animated series aimed at teens says 'My Life is Worth Living'

Julie Cook watches a clip from the upcoming series "My Life Is Worth Living" on Wednesday. The animated show, which a Utah suicide prevention group helped create, aims to address teen suicide. (Stuart Johnson, KSL-TV)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A new campaign in the fight against teen suicide is doing something creators say hasn't been done before. They are running a series of animated stories on suicide prevention they call "My Life is Worth Living."

According to the latest statistics, suicide is the No. 1 cause of death for 10- to 24-year-olds in Utah.

The project will launch on Aug. 18 over social media. It will include five stories and 20 episodes. Each episode will air every week until the end of the year.

"There's a whole community of people that love (our youth), and that want to support them. That is what I think is the most rewarding thing for this," said Julie Cook, who is behind the project.

Cook and her husband are the founders of the Utah County-based company DoTERRA. The two started a foundation called the Cook Center for Human Connection as a way to help prevent teen suicides by providing resources and other information to youth and parents.

"Whether you're the parent, whether you're the coach, whether you're the neighbor, whether you're the aunt, whoever you are, if we are all on the lookout for those in our life who might be struggling, then we might be the answer," said Cook.

The Cook Center has teamed up with Terry Thoren from Wonder Media an organization that addresses trauma through animation. He is also behind "Rugrats" and "The Wild Thornberrys."

"There is hope. They just have to fight that negative voice that they have in their head and we actually brought that voice to life in animation," said Thoren to KSL. Thoren believes this animation series is the way to truly connect with teens in this day and age.

"They love storytelling, and they love characters. And we know that we can embed in our stories in our characters, a way for them, not only to articulate what their problems are but also show them a place where they can get help," said Thoren.

A link to the animated series can be found by going to mylifeisworthliving.org.

Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Crisis Hotlines

  • Utah County Crisis Line: 801-691-5433
  • 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

Online resources

Warning signs of suicide

  • 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.

What to do if you see warning signs of suicide

  • Do not leave the person alone
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional

Information from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Dan Rascon

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