Community, civic, and faith leaders gathered at the Utah State Capitol Monday to announce a public-private effort to fund a suicide prevention and awareness campaign.
At a news conference, Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said the effort has already raised more than $2 million, which will be used to launch a multi-platform messaging effort focused on preventing suicides and raising public awareness and understanding about this issue. The funds come from a variety of healthcare, business, and community groups, including the Utah Legislature, Intermountain Healthcare, University of Utah Health, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We hope this campaign will advance and modify attitudes and social norms to demonstrably reduce suffering and save lives,” said Cox, adding that the campaign will launch in mid-2020.
Elder Craig C. Christensen, General Authority Seventy and president of the Utah Area, represented the Church at the news conference and is one of several high-level Church leaders who have taken part in the governor’s suicide prevention task force.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is grateful to be a part of this important effort,” said Elder Christensen. “It is a blessing to work closely with dedicated public servants, other faith leaders, healthcare professionals, business leaders, and, especially, with survivors all coming together to share messages of hope and an expression of love for those who are struggling.”
The Church’s donation of $150,000 to this suicide prevention campaign matches its previous donation to the governor’s suicide prevention fund in 2018.
Participants in Monday’s news conference expressed concern over the suicide rate in Utah and across the nation, as well as optimism that this new campaign will help publicize the resources and services available to help those at risk.
“We hope, with the resources and the campaign like this, we will help Utahns get the brain, behavioral, and mental health support they need, just a call or a click away,” said Dr. Michael Good, CEO of University of Utah Health. “We are proud to see this campaign launch and move forward.”
“Most Utahns are now aware of this issue and feel a sense of urgency to do something. As a community of partners, our aspiration to impact this is equally bold,” said Mikelle Moore, senior vice president at Intermountain Healthcare. “We now shift our work from messaging of awareness to messaging of action, and we can make an impact.”
For those seeking help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also provides suicide prevention resources at Suicide.ChurchOfJesusChrist.org.